Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/9/2017 (276 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Last year, North Ender Arvin Arabe landed on unknown ground when he got involved with the North End Hockey Program but it turned out he was exactly where he was supposed to be.
Now Arabe is enthusiastically starting his second season as NEHP co-ordinator, as he sees the program grow from 60 to 100 participants. The former Norquay Knights basketball player is giving back to those who helped him, to those who helped him form his identity, he said.
"It’s been a learning experience and, as chaotic as it was last year, I really wanted to take the opportunity to take as many kids as I could and learn as much as I could," he said, recognizing that the progress of the program is a result of many community members’ willingness to help out.
The NEHP is offered by Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre to North End children aged five to 15 years old who have financial needs and provides them with an opportunity to play organized hockey.
Just before Arabe got involved with the program, which he saw he could bring to a new level.
Arabe became sympathetic to the chaotic situation when his wife asked him to help deliver equipment to Pioneer Arena. With only basic knowledge of hockey, Arabe noticed that parents wanted their children to be involved and the children were excited to be a part of a team, and he knew that structure and dedication was what they needed.
And so the basketball player went on a learning journey. He played hockey when he was seven but, because it was a costly sport, he moved on to play ball. With a stiff, brand new pair of skates, a heavy stick from the ’90s, gloves and a helmet that didn’t fit properly, Arabe signed up to be certified as a head coach with the Winnipeg Minor Hockey Association.
"I had to relearn how to do everything," he said, adding that his feet hurt until he broke his skates in.
"I had to get on the ice and learn how to coach, how to run drills, be on every roster, just in case anything would’ve happened, to make sure that I was there for the practices to run and I had to make sure that I was available."
Arabe put in some hard work to get the Norquay Knights hockey program up and playing but he said he is proud of what he and his staff of coaches, with the support of parents, partners and donors, accomplished in just one year.
"What we are doing here is meaningful. We mean everything that we say, we mean everything that we do. Sharing these beliefs have a purpose and I think it benefits all of us," he said.
"The willingness to help a friend out or someone else just snowballed and it’s been fantastic. All these partnerships and strengthened relationships with who can support financially with equipment or jerseys…It never was just myself. It was a group effort."
The program’s ultimate goal is to teach North End kids to become good young people and instil good fundamentals for success, and it also wants to give the community a hockey team to be proud of.
When players get to a higher skill level, they are likely to leave the program and play for other teams but Arabe wants to give them a choice to stay home, where they feel comfortable with their family and friends cheering for them.
The NEHP is always looking for more supporters.
If you would like to help out with coaching, equipment donations or would like to get your children involved with the program contact Ma Mawi at 204-925-0300 or firstname.lastname@example.org