DIGBY, NS – The Maritime NHL’ers 4 Kids organization has donated $5,000 to the Clare-Digby Minor Hockey Association through its partnership with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.
Kids, parents and community members attended the announcement, held at Canadian Tire in Digby October 18.
The event was headed by Chris Larsen, Managing Director of the organization, Karri Trowell, Regional Manager of the Canadian Tire Jumpstart charity for Atlantic Canada, and Greg Nixon, the Clare-Digby Minor Hockey Association’s president.
“We do this for the same reason you do, folks – for our love of the game, and to ensure future generations keep playing,” said Larsen.
Where the money goes
The money raised will go towards helping families in need – in communities stretching from Annapolis, to Digby, to Clare, to Salmon River – put their sons and daughters through hockey, covering costs like registration, equipment, and travel.
It’s not a cheap sport – new gear alone can cost up to $1,000 per year when costs for skates, a helmet, a stick, and padding are factored in.
Nixon said transportation costs also add up quickly for rural families in the Digby area, who often travel an hour each way, several times a week.
“When you look at the demographic of our area, we’ve got families and single parents who work hard and try to put their kids through sports. When you combine a low salary bracket with the cost of hockey, it can be very tough,” said Nixon.
“These donations mean the world to those families, and to the kids who get to play because of them.”
A significant impact on Digby hockey
Larsen works with the Maritime NHL’ers 4 Kids organization to ensure such financial barriers don’t stop any youth eager to get involved from reaching – and scoring – those goals.
The charity has raised $38,000 for the Digby community in the last three years alone, and over $125,000 since it was founded in 2005.
That means it’s helped nearly 950 kids realize their dreams of playing hockey.
“This sports unites Canadians more than anything else in this country. Every kid should have the opportunity to play,” said Larsen.
Colby Haight is one of many hockey players in Digby who’s always eager to hit the ice. He was at the event and shared a bit about what he loves about hockey – passing, scoring, playing with his friends, and getting active.
“I just do it because I love it,” he said.
Bringing it back to Digby
The Maritime NHL’ers 4 Kids charity raises its money through an annual golf fundraiser held in one of the three participating provinces – Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or New Brunswick.
The event was held at the Digby Pines in 2015, and while it may seem too soon to return, they’re doing it anyway.
“Digby holds a special place in our hearts, which is why we’ll be back here in 2018 on July 25 and 26 for our fundraising event,” said Larsen.
Celebrity guests aren’t yet confirmed, but Nova Scotia home-grown talent and current Boston Bruins player Brad Marchand was at the last event in Digby, where he bid on and won tickets to the NHL All-Star Game, which he then gave to a Digby family and paid for their entire trip, according to Larsen.
“This sport is special. These kids are special. Let’s make sure they all have a chance to play,” said Larsen.