A program that has donated hockey bags and gear to youngsters from Indigenous communities throughout Ontario for seven years has expanded to Greater Sudbury, Ont., and the encompassing area.
Volunteers with the Indigenous Hockey Equipment Drive have been on the Northern Hockey Academy on Saturday, the place they gave away 150 hockey bags stuffed with gear.
The bags went to youngsters from close by First Nations, together with Wahnapitae First Nation, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and Henvey Inlet First Nation.
Graham McWaters mentioned he began the Indigenous Hockey Equipment Drive after talking with households from Beausoleil First Nation at a hockey event in Midland, Ont., in 2015.
“I used to be popping out of a hockey rink in Midland with my son Ryan and we noticed some youngsters with hockey bags that have been plastic bags,” he mentioned.
McWaters mentioned he spoke with the households and organized to get them some new hockey bags and gear.
That first 12 months he mentioned they collected eight or 9 hockey bags and about 25 sticks. The subsequent 12 months they collected 30 bags, and have been ready to get 100 the 12 months after that.
The final two years they’ve collected 1,000 bags stuffed with hockey gear, from donation drives within the Toronto space.
He mentioned he contacts hockey associations who then e-mail their members about upcoming hockey bag and gear drives.
“And then individuals come nonstop on that date,” McWaters mentioned. “And I take advantage of native hockey gamers as volunteers to assist me, you recognize, empty the bags.”
He mentioned he now collects 100 to 200 hockey bags throughout every drive.
With success within the Toronto space, McWaters mentioned they plan to broaden their donation drives with hockey associations in Ottawa and Greater Sudbury.
This 12 months, for the primary time, the Indigenous Hockey Equipment Drive collaborated with the Northern Hockey Academy to give away hockey gear they collected in southern Ontario.
Craig Maki, Northern Hockey Academy’s assistant basic supervisor, mentioned it was a simple resolution for the brand new hockey abilities college to work with McWaters and his workforce.
“We’re truly thrilled and we hope it is going to be one thing that we are able to do yearly from this level ahead,” he mentioned.
“Being ready to take part in one thing of this magnitude to assist all the children from varied communities in northern Ontario, I believe that’ll be an important moment of pleasure for the Northern Hockey Academy.”
Morning North7:13More than a thousand bags of hockey gear are being despatched to First Nations all through Ontario