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 firstname.lastname@example.org with details and photos.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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, as in past, 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.