UXBRIDGE: 2017 marks the fifth year of friendship between the people of Uxbridge and the people of the remote First Nations Community, known as Weagamow (Oji-Cree for “Round Lake”).
Hope Through Hockey is orchestrated by USS Varsity Tigers Hockey alumni and friends, who "teach the game of hockey to bring hope" to this community suffering deeply from poverty, addiction and suicide.
Weagamow is a 1.5 hour flight north of Thunder Bay, and has a population of 750 people.
The backing, of the Uxbridge and surrounding communities, has been incredible, with generous gifts of literally thousands of dollars of equipment and funding.
In the first year, 55 children received their very first sets of equipment. In the subsequent years, every child was equipped, along with an inventory being established, to enable an ongoing exchange program. Once again, we are asking for donations of new and gently used hockey equipment and supplies. This year we need to replenish the players with newer, better fitting equipment. We are receiving equipment from Monday, December 4th, to Saturday, December 9th. The specific instructions and list of needed items are shown below.
The friendship between Uxbridge and Weagamow began, when a group of Uxbridge mothers and daughters visited the community, on Mother’s Day weekend in 2012. They had become aware of five mothers, who had tragically taken their own lives in a six week period, orphaning 12 children. They were determined to bring love and care to the women of that community. While there, they learned the community would be opening a brand new arena later in the year.
The Tigers became aware of this need, and set about sending a team to help open up the new arena. The community estimated that about 40 young people would be interested in learning hockey that first year. Within 2 hours of registration, over 120 young people had signed up for the program!
Ever since, the community has been in love with the game, and sends boys and girls teams to the First Nations youth tournament, held each February, in Dryden or Sioux Lookout. Last year they came back with a win in the consolation division….a first for them.
In the five years, the community has seen a profound reduction in suicide and despair amongst its youth. Two of the girls have made the Sioux Lookout Public High school hockey team, competing in the OFSAA system.
The 2017 team includes a number of returning team members and some new faces as well: Merrick Adams (3rd), Mary-Lue Mahaffey (5th), Griffin Bent (1st), Kirk Meek (3rd), Wyatt LaRoche (1st), Sam Luinstra (2nd), Ryan Lavrench (3rd), Tavis Smith (5th), Wendy Meek (3rd), Don Simmonds (4th), Stephanie Luinstra (2nd).
This year, four Weagamow young people will be involved in the training programs for the younger children.
2 WAYS YOU CAN HELP!
1. Equipment donations; for the dignity of the receiver, new or gently used is preferable:
Full sets of equipment, with the following specific equipment items needed: Large helmets. Adult large would be best, as the childrens' head sizes are quite large; Good quality skates of all sizes, especially larger sizes 8,9,10; 4 full sets of goalie equipment, 2 small, 2 large (mens); Gloves, shin pads, shoulder pads; New jocks, jills, garder belts, undershorts, suspenders and pants.
New and used sticks, both right and left; stick tape; shinpad tape; and other equipment such as water bottles, pucks, etc.
In addition, prizes, trophies, and medals, that can be used in the award ceremony.
Note: we have lots of sweaters and socks.
Equipment Deliveries will be received, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., December 4th through December 9th, at 282 Main St. N, Unit 1, Uxbridge, beside Property Guys.
2. Donating toward the cost of getting to and from the remote community. Transporting the team and equipment to such a remote location costs about $18,000. Accommodations for the team at an elementary school are provided by the community. Uxbridge Baptist Church has, once again, agreed to be the charitable coordinating body. They will receive donations with a memo “Hope through Hockey” attached. Tax receipts are given for personal and company donations over $25.
Contributions can be sent to: UXBRIDGE BAPTIST CHURCH - "Hope Through Hockey", 231 Brock St. W., Uxbridge, ON L9P 1N1
The Hope Through Hockey Team wish to thank the Uxbridge Community in advance, for standing with them in this unique endeavour!!
Have questions? Call or email Courtney Lawson: 647-379-7860, email@example.com
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