Some 50 downtown kids scored free hockey equipment courtesy of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and Bauer Hockey.
Those two organizations furnished kids from Alexandra Park and the nearby area with full sets of hockey equipment at a special ceremony at Scadding Court Community Centre, prior to local MPP Han Dong’s New Year’s Levee.
The equipment donated was worth some $100,000 and marked the first batch of equipment donated as part of a $500,000 commitment from Bauer to Jumpstart.
“In 2014, Jumpstart was able to help almost 10,000 kids get into the sport of hockey and stay in hockey,” said Jumpstart Charities executive director Landon French.
Local politicos, including recently-elected TDSB trustee Ausma Malik, councillor Joe Cressy and Dong, were all on hand to see the youngsters get their full sets of hockey gear. Cressy said the donation from Bauer and Jumpstart was vital for the children and youth who received free gear.
“With donations like this, not only are we building community, but we’re giving every kid a sporting chance,” he said. “Healthy communities are ones where everybody, whether you’re from Alexandra Park or Rosedale, gets a chance to play.”
The free equipment was a huge boon to families in the largely low-income neighbourhood. Many of the recipients would not have had skates to lace up or hockey gear that fit without the generosity of the donors.
Better still, the gear will stay in the community once the kids outgrow it.
“The equipment donated today will help not just these kids, but it will help their siblings and their friends,” Dong said, during the Saturday, Jan. 10 event.
That’s the plan for Sarah Bachinski, a mother of three whose oldest child, eight-year-old Oscar, received a set of gear.
“Everybody knows hockey equipment is expensive,” she said. “We’re lucky enough to live just down the street from the rink and Oscar’s the kind of boy who likes to play shinny every day. This equipment will help him this season and into next, and then he can pass it down to his siblings.”
Janet Denault noted her grandson has taken part in Scadding Court’s hockey program for two years and has benefited greatly from it, gaining self-confidence and independence. The Scadding hockey program is definitely welcome for those with limited budgets, for whom hockey enrolment fees and equipment costs would normally be inaccessible.
“There is no way that I could afford to put him in a hockey program or take him anywhere else to play and I know he will be over the moon about having his own brand new set of hockey equipment,” she said.
For more information on Scadding Court Community Centre’s hockey program, visit www.scaddingcourt.org
To learn more about Jumpstart Charities, call 1-844-937-7529.