Alberta’s hockey community is always at its best during the holiday season, and we’ve asked Minor Hockey Associations and teams from across Alberta to share their stories of giving back to the community with us.
The Calgary McKnight Mustangs Atom 4 Black team raised a total of $175 for Ronald McDonald House at the team’s Christmas party. The team’s co-managers are nurses, and the team wanted to give back to other kids in the community, kids who could possibly be playing hockey with them if they weren’t sick. The team fashioned the “McKnight Christmas Cup”, which was filled with candy. Each guess cost $1 on the number of pieces of candy in the cup. There were 454 pieces, and defenceman Josh Penner had the closest guess at 450. In the spirit of the night, he shared his prize with his teammates.
Airdrie Minor Hockey Association’s main Christmas initiative for 8 years running has been to support the Airdrie Lioness Hamper Program by collecting much needed items. This year, we collected scarves, mittens and toques over the course of a weekend.
We also have a Hockey Fights Hunger campaign that goes for two weeks. Each division is given a large moving box in the lobby of the arena and the division that fills their box the most times, becomes the Hockey Fights Hunger champions for that season. This year, the champions were the Peewee Division. It’s always a different division each year, so everyone gets very involved.
Teams invite their out-of-town competitors to join the fun, and this year a Peewee team from Okotoks won a friendly competition and collected the most food between the two teams, forcing the Airdrie Peewee Ruff Dogs to do the chicken dance at center ice.
AMHA teams have also collected Turkeys for the Food bank (Midget AA Female and Atom Female) and donated toys to the Children’s Hospital.
In general this season, we have seen the most contributions and the most participation and as usual we are so proud of our teams on and off the ice.
Calgary Midget AAA Fire
The Calgary Fire Midget AAA Fire got together to fill, and deliver warm sock to the Mustard Seed Foundation.
Claresholm MHA & Pincher Creek MHA
The Claresholm and Pincher Creek Bantam teams are banding together this Friday (December 23) for the last game of 2016 and charging an admission of a food bank item to donate to those less fortunate during the Holiday Season. The game starts at 7:45 on Friday and we are hoping to fill the stands.
The CNN Spurs families gave back to the Bon Accord and Gibbons Food Bank. Each level decorated a tree at the annual fundraiser with high-demand donation items. Making spirits bright; Go Spurs!
Cold Lake Hornets
Cold Lake’s Novice 3 team, the Hornets, spent two hours on Dec 10th braving the cold to help out with the annual Fill-a-Bus campaign, raising donations for the local food bank. Led by Coach Robyn Stenz, the Hornets brought with them 274 kg (604 lbs) of items to donate, and helped to collect much, much more from Sobey’s patrons.
The Hornets had a great turn out with 14 team members, as well as coaches, managers and parents!
Duchess Minor Hockey
Duchess Minor Hockey hosted "Hockey Day in Duchess" where all 6 of our teams from Initiation up to Midget played back-to-back. We collected for our local food bank, as well as toys to be donated at Christmas to families in need through a local organization - Oil People Helping Oil People (OPHOP). All 6 teams also donated their 50/50 proceeds from the day and a silent auction to OPHOP. Many people from the community came for the day and the visiting teams donated as well.
Grande Prairie MHA
Last Friday, the Grande Prairie Minhas Brothers Peewee AA team hosted a sponsorship night to show how grateful our team is for the community support we have received and also to show our hockey family how we have been busy giving back to our wonderful city of Grande Prairie. In the past two weeks our team volunteered for the Salvation Army Christmas Kettles, Did a food bank drive and had time to send a Christmas Card to a 9 year old little girl on the other side of the country asking in the news for Christmas Cards to lift her spirits with her ongoing battle with cancer.
My son Lucas and I recently went to Africa as part of a giving back initiative. Our Peewee hockey team filled a hockey bag of mini sticks and balls that we took with us. When my son and I were visiting an orphanage he went out into the middle of the field and taught about 40 kids how to play with a hockey stick. The children were very intrigued and even though there was no common language it was amazing to watch them play. This particular village in rural Uganda now has about 70 mini sticks and enough balls for their school to use this for phys ed class.
Each year, the Grande Prairie Salvation Army helps families who are in need. The Grande Prairie Bantam A team volunteered to help organize all of their gift bags the night before they were to distribute them.
It was overwhelming to see just how many unfortunate families there are in our community. The boys organized of 600 bags with smiles on their faces.
Grande Prairie Midget AAA Storm
The Grande Prairie Midget AAA Storm collected two bins filled with food donations at their game this past weekend for the Salvation Army Food Bank. Also collected were gift cards, which will be donated to local youths in need.
Lakeland College Bantam Tigers
Last week, our team of 13-14 year old boys went carolling at our local Nursing Home, Seniors Lodge and some downtown businesses to spread some Christmas Cheer. We wanted to do some community activities and chose to visit three different Senior residences to sing some Christmas carols and brighten their evening. We were rewarded with smiles from residents and staff, some of them singing along with us, and plenty of warm wishes and thanks for our time. It was good for the boys to share these moments - the seniors appreciated their efforts, it was fun for all of us.
Lethbridge City League
The Pee Wee Division in the Lethbridge City League was challenged on the weekend to fill several food bins for the Lethbridge Food Bank Society. Six games were held over the weekend and the teams were able to gather over 300lbs of donated food. Thanks to the Milestone Mazda Bandits for organizing and all teams that helped with this project.
Medicine Hat MHA
The Atom Wildcat girls gathered to have a Secret Santa gift exchange as well as collect and donate items for the Women’s Shelter. We are encouraging these young ladies to be a community on and off the ice.
On December 8th, the Medicine Hat Minor Hockey Atom A Hurricanes and Senators hosted a WHL inspired "teddy bear toss" exhibition game. When the first goal was scored, approximately 150 bears came tumbling onto the ice. The bears were collected and held by the parents and coaches until Saturday December 17. On this day, both teams met at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital with all the bears. The players then went through four wings of the hospital and handed the bears out to patients of all ages on behalf of Medicine Hat Minor Hockey. The reaction from the patients was amazing and they were very appreciative. It was also, amazing to see how the kids responded when handing the bears out and wishing people, whom they do not know, a "Merry Christmas" and "hope you feel better soon".
The Peewee Hounds Black team rang bells and collected donations for the Salvation Army on December 7.
The Peewee Hounds Orange team also rang bells and collected donations for the Salvation Army, on December 9.
The Peewee City Flames bought and donated gifts for the United Way Toy Drive on December 17.
The SEAC Midget 15’s collected food donations for the Brooks Food Bank Foundation and the Medicine Hat & Disctrict Food Bank Association at their home games on December 17 & 18. The players are also working with the United Way to help prepare food hampers.
Sherwood Park MHA
The SPMHA Atom A Jets teams volunteered their time at the Edmonton Food Bank to help sort food donations.
Spruce Grove Peewee AA Broncos
The Spruce Grove Peewee AA Broncos donated and did a food and toy drive to support the Spruce Grove Kinettes Christmas Hamper Program. The team raised over $350 and had a truck full of food and toys.
West Central Bantam AA Tigers
The West Central Bantam AA Tigers, Foothill Bisons and all the West Central home community supporters at a home game on Saturday December 3, participated in a Teddy Bear/Gift Card Toss. We raised over $500 in gift cards/cash and 102 Teddy Bears were tossed! A special thank you to the Foothills Bisons for helping support and participate in this event as well- both teams were on the ice for this event and it was a special moment to see!
The gift cards and teddy bears were distributed throughout local charities in Sylvan Lake, Bentley, Rimbey, Eckville, Spruceview, Caroline, Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer. The Tiger players hand delivered to each community group.
Also, some of our boys have helped and volunteered in community Canskate programs as Program Assistants in Rimbey, AB.
If you’d like to share a story of your team or association giving back, please email [email protected].