The program has been a hit in Edmonton and, starting today, Calgary will be home to a sports equipment bank that will help thousands of youngsters play hockey in southern Alberta.
Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank will help address a major hurdle that keeps many kids out of sports and that is the cost of equipment. The program, which has been months in the making and has involved a number of stakeholders, will provide head-to-toe hockey equipment for youth who qualify.
The model is based on a successful program in Edmonton called Sport Central, which has been operating for more than 20 years and assisted more than 8,600 children in 2013, with 60 per cent of those being hockey players.
“No kid should be denied the right to play due to financial limitations,” says Al Coates, who is chair of the Southern Alberta Sports Equipment Bank Society. “As partners, we’re excited that we can play a role in diminishing the financial impact through our program.”
Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank is the result of the support of Bill Comrie and his family, along with the work of partners KidSport Calgary, Hockey Calgary, Hockey Canada Foundation, Sport Calgary, the Western Hockey League, Calgary Flames Foundation and Hockey Alberta.
KidSport Calgary will work with a number of charitable agencies to determine who qualifies for the program. Once their child or children qualify, parents will need to make an appointment with the equipment bank to size and outfit the young athletes.
Kevin Webster, executive director of KidSport Calgary, says the program’s success will also rely on many volunteers. If you’re looking to help more kids play hockey, now is your chance.
“We are currently looking for volunteers to help in the shop in servicing youth and their families as they come in for appointments,” says Webster. “We also need help getting donated equipment ready for distribution. Volunteers will be a big key to our success as we look to ramp up our operations leading into hockey season.”
If you’re interested in volunteering or donating new or gently-used equipment, please contact Russell Gillespie, general manager of the Southern Alberta Sports Equipment Bank Society. Gillespie can be reached at (403) 861-1473.
One of the goals with Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank will be to outfit kids for all types of sports. Right now, the focus will be on hockey but the program will move into other sports in the near future.
The Southern Alberta Sports Equipment Bank Society is a not-for-profit organization that oversees Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank. The SASEBS is made up of one staff person and a volunteer board of directors. For more information on the society, contact Russell Gillespie at (403) 861-1473.
KidSportTM Society of Calgary has been providing assistance to children in need for the past 18 years. We work closely with families and local sport clubs to help pay registration fees and distribute the necessary equipment that allows low-income kids to get active and engaged in sports. Since 1995, KidSport Calgary has distributed more than $5 million in support of almost 22,000 kids in Calgary and the surrounding communities. Help KidSport Calgary continue to motivate kids to play, because healthy kids make healthy adults.