You can now play a part in helping nurture the next Jonathan Toews or Sidney Crosby.
That’s because the city recently launched its second annual campaign to collect gently-used hockey equipment at various Winnipeg locations, including Bertrand Arena (294 Bertrand St.) in St. Boniface and Maginot Arena (910 Maginot St.) in Windsor Park.
Individuals are encouraged to drop off equipment at these locations, as well as city hall (510 Main St.), until Oct. 31. The donated equipment will then be given to qualified Winnipeg families through Sport Manitoba’s Kidsport program, Hockey Winnipeg and Hockey Manitoba.
"Sport and recreation opportunities should be available to all Winnipeg youth," said Mayor Sam Katz in a news release. "The purpose of this drive is to get equipment into the hands of the kids who dream of playing hockey, but are unable to participate due to financial obstacles. We want to take down some of those obstacles and get more boys and girls into the game."
Coun. Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan), who played for the Winnipeg Jets between 1981 and 1995 and is currently the councillor responsible for youth and recreational opportunities in the city, knows how spending time on the ice can enhance the development of a young man or woman.
"We want to give every young person who wants to play the game the opportunity to take part," Steen said in the same news release. "Participating in sport is an incredible experience and kids should not be discouraged or turned away just because they can’t afford to buy the equipment."
Officials say last year’s inaugural campaign, which ran for two weeks in October, collected enough equipment to outfit around 500 young players. Play It Again Sports (730 St. Anne’s Rd.) in St. Vital also supported the drive with a donation of hockey and ringette sticks and will be doing the same again this year.