It’s a warm story born of an icy sport.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development called up Coast Reporter recently to share the story of local hockey teams stepping up for families in need.
This year, of the 40 families the ministry is distributing Christmas hampers to on the Sunshine Coast, 10 are sponsored by local minor hockey teams, says Jacquie Ostrosky, a team assistant at the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
"For the past many years Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Teams have been working with the Ministry of Children and Families. Supporting families in need by playing Santa for Christmas," said Melissa Tripp, ways and means director for Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey, in an email.
"The program was reignited by Sara Wingfield in 2015. Sara had travelled the globe with her husband Brad during his pro hockey career and witnessed his teams give back and support their communities," said Tripp.
Wingfield says her biggest inspiration for wanting to help out was The Danbury Trashers, "one of the last and most memorable teams Brad played for."
"The owners of the Trashers were huge community contributors. They gave away countless numbers of tickets and merchandise. We were fortunate to attendfundraisers and donation events where they just kept on giving. These are the people that truly inspired us to give back," said Wingfield. "The Trashers always 'adopted' families at Christmas time. I always thought this was amazing so when we came home to the Sunshine Coast and our sons began their hockey journey I wanted to do it here.
"Watching little thing a few teams did, in the beginning, to close to every Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey team jumping in truly leaves me speechless."
Seven teams are sponsoring through the ministry’s Gibsons office, three through the Sechelt office, says Ostrosky.
“These kids, their parents can afford to put them in hockey and they have a lot of sponsorship through the community with businesses,” says Ostrosky. “And it's nice to know that the kids appreciate the community and in the end, the teams, they're giving back.”
Several other dedicated local organizations also sponsor hampers including RentalEquip; Howe Sound Pulp & Paper employees; Coastline Chiropractic; Aspen Wing and family; Bonnibrook Walking group; Unifor 119; Sunshine Coast Mental Health; Sechelt Hospital staff; BA Blacktop and anonymous.