RIDE ALONG: A young girl from Weagamow gets some help on the ice from Ryan Lavrench during last year’s Hope Through Hockey trip to the remote community in Northern Ontario. Another trip is planned for this year, and the group is seeking donations from the community to assist them in providing equipment to children. STANDARD FILE PHOTO
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The friendship forged between Uxbridge and the remote Northern Ontario First nations community of Weagamow will continue this winter with ‘Hope Through Hockey 2’ and the community is urged to get involved with this project.
Over the Christmas holidays last year, Uxbridge expressed its care and friendship for Weagamow by holding a week of hockey clinics with past and present members of the Uxbridge S.S. Tigers Varsity Boys hockey team for the children in the community, culminating with a community tournament in their newly built arena.
“It was an experience that can’t be taught in school, it’s something that you can only completely learn and understand by doing it,” said Josh Lubbock, one of the local young men that took part in the trip last year. “We’re all grateful to the support the Uxbridge community showed in helping us bring hope to these kids.”
The Hope Through Hockey program will be heading back to Weagamow this year and the community is asked for their generous donations of new or gently used hockey equipment for the native children that don’t yet have their own. The team’s goal for this goal is to take another 50 sets of equipment (ie. sticks, helmets, kneepads, shoulder pads, etc.) and another 75 pairs of skates.
Collections for the Hope Through Hockey trip will be ongoing until Saturday, Nov. 22, at several locations in North Durham, including: PropertyGuys, located at 280 Main St. N, Suite 100, in Uxbridge during regular business hours; Shobrook Gardens, in the front vestibule anytime at 1 Elgin Park Dr., in Uxbridge; Snap Fitness at 15930 Old Simcoe Rd., in Port Perry on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., or call 1-877-857-2333 for pick-up in Durham Region.
When the team set out to Weagamow last year, they were expecting about 45 children and the community helped them collect 80 pairs of skates and enough equipment to outfit 50 children.
In Weagamow, there was an overwhelming interest for the program, with 120 young people registering in the first two hours. Many of the children that took part had never skated before, and were able to try on skates and equipment for the very first time.
As a result, the Hope Through Hockey team added an additional clinic for the many children in the community who had never skated. And in just a few short hours, many were skating on their own. Over the week, the Uxbridge players became the coaches and had a wonderful time with families and community members watching their children play hockey for the very first time.
“Kids were saying that this was the best experience of their lives, and that they wanted us to come back as soon as possible,” Ryan Lavrench said of his experience in Weagamow last year.
The Uxbridge Community can help spread Hope Through Hockey in two ways. You may know a business, organization, team or person that could contribute new or gently used hockey equipment (covering all ages and sizes) by Nov. 22 (in order to transport by ground to Sioux Lookout for flight in before the team arrives). Or through cash or cheque donations made payable to Uxbridge Baptist Church and put in an envelope marked “Hope Through Hockey” and can be mailed to:
Uxbridge Baptist Church
“Hope Through Hockey”
231 Brock St. W, Uxbridge, ON
The Tigers wish to thank the community in advance for standing with them in this unique endeavour.
If you have any further questions, call Courtney, manager of Tigers hockey at 905-852-2333.
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