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. If you would like to share your team’s story of giving back during the holidays, please email [email protected] with details and photos.
Airdrie Midget Elite
The Airdrie Midget Elite team teamed up with the Airdrie Atom Female team to purchase turkeys to donate to the local food bank. They raised enough money to purchase 236 turkeys, well beyond their goal of 150.
The team also collected 150 jackets and hoodies to donate to those in need in their communities.
Barrhead Atom 1
The Barrhead Atom 1 team is helping to fight hunger this holiday season by collecting food donations for the local food bank, advertising in the local paper and on social media, and set up a food bank hamper at their local arena. They have also adopted a family from the local FCSS for Christmas, using their tournament proceeds money to purchase Christmas gifts and the Christmas meal for the family. The boys have also decided to hold a snow shovelling blitz and shovel driveways and sidewalks in our community for free.
Barrhead Midget Steelers
The Barrhead Midget Steelers have hosted a few events this season where they have given back to their community. In October, they honored their mothers and all women for Women’s Cancer month.In November, they donated the team’s proceeds from the 50/50 to the local FCSS Family Violence Prevention campaign. Lastly, they hosted a Toy Drive in December, and volunteered for the Food Bank and Santa’s Toy Box.
Beaumont Peewee 1 Braves
The Beaumont Peewee 1 Braves spent an evening volunteering their time at the Edmonton Mustard Seed.
Big Valley Bandits
The Big Valley Mites and Novice Bandits teams invited spectators and teams to bring food bank donations, as well as cash donations to a home game, filling the back of a truck with donations.
During the recent Midget tournament in Blackfalds, six local families were adopted, and received donations for everything they needed to have a Merry Christmas.
Central Alberta Peewee AA Selects
The Central Alberta Peewee AA Selects spent an evening visiting the Lacombe senior’s home, complete with an interactive bingo game.
Chestermere Minor Hockey
The Chestermere Minor Hockey Association hosted a "Build it and They WIll Eat" structures challenge for the local food bank on Giving Tuesday (November 28).
Crowfoot Peewee 1 (Calgary)
The Crowfoot Peewee 1 team in Calgary gave back in two ways this holiday season. They volunteered their time to join the two Crowfoot Timbits teams on the ice, and they visited the Arbour Lake Senior Residence to play bean bag baseball, and host a happy hour cookie and ice cream party.
Drumheller Minor Hockey
Peewee, Bantam and Midget players from Drumheller took part in the Salvation Army’s annual community food drive, volunteering to pick up and sort the food collected for the local food bank.
Duchess Minor Hockey
Duchess Minor Hockey hosted "Hockey Weekend in Duchess" November 24-26. The weekend kicked off with a Teddy Bear Toss at the Midget game on Friday night, where the Novice team helped collect the bears off the ice to donate to the local Hospital, the Emergency Services Department, and the Women’s Shelter.
Throughout the rest of the weekend there was a “fill-the-net” food bank and toy donation bin, Santa selling 50/50 rickets, a raffle table full of donated items, as well as soups and baking to raise money for the Brooks Health Foundation Dialysis Machine and the Oncology Unit at the Calgary Children’s Hospital.
Edmonton Bantam Elite Pandas
The Edmonton Bantam Elite Pandas of the Alberta Female Hockey League volunteered as porters at the Santas Anonymous depot, spending several hours bring bags of toys to the drivers.
EGHA 690, BE888
EG690 decided to challenge BE888 from Beaumont to bring toys to a game to donate to Santas Anonymous.
EGHA 700 Peewee A Swarm
This year the EGHA 700 Pee Wee A Swarm participated in two events to give back to the community. On November 21, the Swarm went to the Edmonton Food Bank and sorted food donations. "The girls worked enthusiastically, for about two hours," said Head Coach Barry Benkendorf. "You could tell they knew they were doing something important. We also had a number of parents who participated. Everyone got to know each other a lot better, and came away from the event feeling good about themselves and their team."
The Swarm were also were invited to participate in a Teddy Bear toss by the NE 288 Hawks. "All the girls came with new Teddy Bears and were excited about scoring the first goal," said Benkendorf. "It was a lot of fun, and added excitement to a normal game. The girls came away feeling like they made a difference for Santas Anonymous and made someone’s Christmas better. These events are important to our team as first and foremost, playing hockey is not about the hockey. For our team it is about having fun, developing a work ethic, building self-confidence, and learning how to be good people. It is our hope that the experiences we give our players will help, in some small way, to make them successful for the rest of their lives."
EGHA 705 Vipers
For their last game of 2017, the EGHA 705 Vipers, along with their competitors, the NW290 Hawks, collected cans for the Edmonton Food Bank.
All three Foothills Bisons teams (Peewee, Bantam and Midget) played in High River to benefit the long term care facility at the High River Hospital. All three teams donated prizes to a raffle table and a total of $1,933 was raised, as well as a few large baskets of groceries for the local food bank.
Hanna Minor Hockey
Hanna minor hockey association hosted a town wide food drive that included participation from all teams. Over two truck loads of groceries were collected for the local food bank.
High Level Peewee Northstars
The players placed small coin collection containers and posters at businesses around High Level and Rainbow Lake to raise money to purchase gifts for less fortunate families in the local communities. Once the coins were all collected and rolled, the team spent an afternoon shopping and then wrapping all the gifts. They were able to buy amazing gifts for everyone on their list, and still had over $2000 left over. The team decided to donate the rest of the money to the Christmas Food Hamper program and purchase grocery gift cards to help nearly 50 families.
Hinton Alstar Peewee Hornets
The Hinton Alstar Peewee Hornets hosted a “Skate Your Socks Off” event, where they collected over 120 pairs of socks for Hinton’s Homeless Resource Room.
Lethbridge Val Matteotti Bantam AAA Goldenhawks
The Lethbridge Val Matteotti GoldenHawks Bantam AAA team took part in #snowballeffect2017 and raised $350 for Youth One, and $50 and a truck bed full of food for the local food bank
Lloydminster Pond Hockey
The Lloyd Pond Hockey program participated in a variety of activities which included preparing & serving food at the community supper evening for the Olive Tree at the Fred North building, as well as at the MOM’s group at Southridge Community Church. After supper, the Pond Hockey players helped build crafts with the kids and entertained them with a variety of fun activities in the gym while the moms received guidance services.
Lloydminster Peewee AA
The Lloydminster Peewee AA team attended Points West Assisted Living Facility to perform Christmas carols for the residents.
Lloydminster PWM Steelers
The Lloydminster PWM Midget AAA Steelers of the Alberta Female Hockey League provided a major boost to a local initiative called Project PJ, helping to collect new pajamas to donate to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
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Maple Leaf Athletic Club (Edmonton) Bantam AA
The Maple Leaf Athletic Club Bantam AA Team collected donations and built a gift basket for a specific homeless man in Edmonton. The team took the time to pick out some of his favourite things, including food and drinks, gift cards to restaurants for him to purchase meals and t-shirts that were specifically his size. Each of the members of the team wrote a personalized letter ot the man to brighten his spirits and wish him a happy holiday season.
Medicine Hat Atom B Knights and Flames
The Medicine Hat Atom B Knights and Flames spread Christmas cheer by hosting a Teddy Bear Toss, delivering 232lbs of food to the local food bank, and delivering the Teddy Bears to the Hospital.
Medicine Hat Atom Blackhawks and Wild
The Atom Blackhawks and Atom Wild teams from Medicine Hat hosted a Teddy Bear Toss on December 8. The players and their families were thrilled to gather teddy bears for the Medicine Hat & District Health Foundatio, with over 200 bears collected.
Medicine Hat Peewee AA Hounds
The Medicine Hat Peewee AA Hounds took part in the Salvation Army Christmas Kettles Campaign to help raise money for those in need this holiday season.
Medicine Hat Peewee Knights and Candiens
The Medicine Hat Minor Hockey Pee Wee Knights and Canadiens hosted a "WHL inspired" teddy bear toss game. Upon the first goal being scored, approximately 150 bears were thrown onto the ice by friends and families in the stands. These bears were gathered by both teams and on Sunday December 17, both teams met at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital and went around giving the bears to patients of all ages.
NAIT Ooks and MacEwan Griffins Mentorship Program with EGHA
The NAIT Ooks and MacEwan Griffins have started a mentorship program for both coaches and players with Edmonton Girls Hockey Association. Five or six NAIT and MacEwan players are assigned to each EGHA team involved (Atom and Peewee), and those players attend two-to-three practices with their assigned team. Both NAIT and MacEwan also hosted a one-night coach workshop, a goalie session, and team building with all teams in the age group (about 80 players and 18 coaches), as well as a facility tour.
Northwest Zone Peewee Raiders (Edmonton)
The Raiders teamed up with the Edmonton Police West Division and Grovenor School to raise over $1000 AND 1000 pounds of food for the Edmonton Food Bank. The Raiders held a bottle drive that raised $1092.00 and met up with EPS to fill a police car with food. All of this was then added to Grovenor’s Grade 3 Food Bank.
NW288 Peewee Hawks
The NW288 Peewee hosted a Teddy Bear Toss game with the aforementioned EGHA700 Swarm, collecting Teddy Bears and stuffed animals for the "Santas Anonymous" fundraiser put on by a local radio station.
"We thought that having our own Teddy Bear toss game with another team would be a great way to gather some items for 630 CHED’s Santas Anonymous," said Manager Lisa Scheu. "We contacted the EG700 team manager with the idea and they agreed immediately! Both teams invited friends and family to the game to join in the fun!"
"It was exciting to watch the teams battle to get that first goal and once it happened, the ’bears’ were thrown and both teams excitedly gathered them up," said Scheu. "Santas Anonymous was the recipient of six large bags of stuffed toys for boys and girls of all ages to be sent out this Christmas season! As our hockey club is smaller than most, we are lucky enough to have many of the same players year after year, so this was the third Teddy Bear Toss for many of our boys."
North Central Impact Midget Elite (Leduc)
The North Central Impact decided to play Santa’s helpers for a young girl in Thorsby. They secretly took her Christmas wish-list and purchased many of the items for her. She thought she was coming to watch her first every hockey game but was surprised when the team sang her Christmas carols and presented her with gifts from every player.
Okotoks Peewee AA Oilers
The Okotoks Oilers PeeWee AA Black team helped give back to the community by supporting the Calgary Mustard Seed. The players did a bottle drive in Okotoks to raise enough funds to pay for food and supplies to make over 300 bagged lunches for the Calgary Mustard Seed. The team made and delivered the lunches to the Mustard Seed and then also presented them with a cheque for $800 (the remaining funds left from the bottle drive).
Olds Bantam Elite Grizzlys
The Olds Bantam Elite Grizzlys of the Alberta Female Hockey League joined in on the Sherwood Park Royals’ "Fill the Net" fundraiser for the local food bank.
Olds Peewee AA Grizzlys
The Olds Peewee AA team split up into groups to purchase gifts for the Olds Christmas Angels. Each group chose a tag for a boy or girl in the community and purchased a gift for that child.
PAC Saints Midget 15AAA
The PAC Saints Midget 15 AAA team was proud to support coach Tyler Pennington in his quest to raise money to support men’s health issues during "Movember". The boys were challenged to donate to the cause (using their own money). Head coach Mike Leonhardt supported the cause further by agreeing to match all money raised by the team. The end result was $550 raised for the Movember Foundation.
Peace River Midget AA Royals
The annual Peace River Midget “AA” Royals “Fill the Net with Toys” toy drive took place in December, bringing in close to 100 pieces of toys for the local Salvation Army "Toys for Tots" campaign. An additional $425 was raised through a 50/50 draw, which was donated to the Salvation Army.
Red Deer Sutter Fund Midget AAA Chiefs
The Red Deer Sutter Fund Midget AAA Chiefs of the Alberta Female Hockey League hosted a "Fill the Net" food drive for the Red Deer Food Bank during a home game on December 2.
Rimbey Minor Hockey
Rimbey’s Nordstrom Dental Midget Renegades and The NAL Resources Atom A team recently held a food drive and canvassed door to door accepting donations for the local food bank. In just two short hours, the players raised 1073lbs of food and $1,074 in cash donations for the Christmas Food Hamper Program.
Sexsmith Minor Hockey
Sexsmith Minor Hockey Association participated in a “reverse Santa Parade”. Some members of the Atom A and Peewee B teams, along with Coaches went door to door collecting food and toy donations for the local FCSS food bank.
Sherwood Park Atom AA Arrows
The Sherwood Park Atom AA Arrows donated their time to help out at the Strathcona County Food Bank.
Sherwood Park Midget Elite Fury
The Sherwood Park Midget Elite Fury of the Alberta Female Hockey League, along with other Sherwood Park Kings Athletic Club teams, collected dozens of bags and hundreds of pounds of food with their "Fill the Net" initiative at the annual "Kings Day" on December 2.
"Since Steve Mancini started coaching the (Fury), his players and he have “given back”, especially with three years of a weakened economy in Alberta," said Manager Jeff Markowski. "Despite the Strathcona County area being relatively stable, many families are overcome by unemployment, abuse, and medical/health issues that disable their lives in unseen ways. Our local Bureaus and helping agencies are seeing fewer donors and funds come there way with each passing season."
"This season the Fury players and staff spent an evening at the local Christmas Bureau, finding and wrapping gifts and collecting food for those that would go without," said Markowski. "Just over 30 families this year will be able to enjoy the their upcoming Holidays with a bit less stress on their minds, a few gifts of kindness, and food in their stomachs. Great giving Fury, and thanks for being the terrific young people you are!"
Spruce Grove PAC AA Timberwolves/PAC Saints Bantam AAA
The PAC Bantam AA Timberwolves delivered nearly 400 fliers for the Spruce Grove Kinettes’ Christmas hamper program prior to one of their home games. The Spruce Grove PAC Saints Bantam AAA team did the same for the Spruce Grove Kinettes on November 22.
St. Albert Atom Hawks
The St. Albert Atom Knights collected 100 pounds of food and sorted 1000 pounds of food at the local food bank.
St. Albert Peewee A Steel
The St. Albert Peewee A Steel volunteered their time at the St. Albert Food Bank to prepare 200 bags of soup for families in need.
St. Alberta Peewee Spitfires
St Albert’s Peewee SA763 "Spitfires" constructed a tower of food bank donations for the Wainwright Food Bank while at a tournament.
St. Albert Peewee Crunch
The St. Albert Peewee Crunch were one of many teams who supported the St. Albert Kinettes this holiday season. The Crunch participated in the 12 Days of Christmas challenge, where each player collected food to fill a hamper in order to provide a family in need with a variety of meals, one type of food item per day. Each player also included a toy, something that he would like to receive on Christmas morning. Finally, the team, along with many parents, spent time helping to sort through and organize donated items at the Kinettes’ warehouse.
Sturgeon Peewee AA Sting
The Sturgeon Peewee AA Sting have collected and donated to local charities this year. The Sting gifted over 700lbs of food in February and this October, and more than 400 lbs of clothing. They also hosted a community celebration of hockey at the recent Sturgeon Sting Peewee AA Outdoor Classic game; an NAHL league game vs Ft. St. John.
Wainwright Racks-Oilfield Bantam
The Wainright Racks-Oilfield Bantam team visited the Wainwright Battle River Lodge. The evening was filled with games (snowball hockey), cookies, juice and also we helped celebrate one the of the residents 93rd birthday.
West Central Tigers
During a game against the Bow Valley Timberwolves, the West Central Tigers held a Christmas food drive for the food banks in Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House, Eckville, Spruceview and Sylvan Lake communities.
The Westlock Midget team went shopping for the two families they chose to sponsor through Santas Anonymous, with proceeds from the annual Gord Smith Memorial tournament they host each December.