DAN CEARNS, The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: The Lindsay Minor Hockey Association (LMHA) was one of several hockey organizations across Ontario to receive free hockey equipment from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA).
"In the Player and Goalie Assist program, selected Associations are given full sets of free CCM player and goalie equipment to loan out to young players to use as needed. The equipment is sized for U9 and Below age groups. A total of 70 Associations were selected to each receive a full set of goalie gear, and ten Associations received ten full sets of player gear. These Assist programs make it easier for new hockey families to fall in love with the sport without facing any financial barriers or having to make the commitment to purchasing new equipment. The local Association can use each set of equipment at its discretion, either loaning it out for the season or giving directly to players to keep as needed," an OMHA press release stated.
The LMHA was one of three organizations to receive just player equipment through the program, the other communities being Lambton Shores and Loyalists.
"Lindsay MHA is thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient of the Player Assist Equipment donation. The organization is constantly looking for ways to help eliminate the barriers for kids to try the sport of hockey. Having this equipment available for children to try the game we all have a passion for is exciting. Hockey's future depends on attracting new kids and keeping those current ones in the game. If this equipment combined with the financial assistance programs do that, then the sport wins," LMHA President Casey Deschamps wrote in an email to The Standard.
Regarding how the Association will distribute the equipment, the local hockey association president noted, "Lindsay Minor Hockey currently operates its own internal assistance program, Hockey 4All, and we will distribute and utilize the equipment through this internal avenue."
In a statement, OMHA Executive Director Ian Taylor discussed the importance of programs like this.
"Programs like Player Assist and Goalie Assist are crucial in helping our Associations remove some of the challenges in bringing young players into the game," he said. "We hope these programs can help alleviate some stresses within our communities and encourage new families to try out hockey."
The Player Assist equipment includes shin pads, pants, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, helmets, and neck guards.