EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) is proud to announce a $2 million donation to KidSport to help grow the game of hockey in Oil Country. The donation will fund KidSport's Hockey Assist program, through which qualified kids in Alberta from Red Deer north will have their full registration fees covered and access to no-cost equipment.
"Imagine hearing your friends at school talk about their hockey game over the weekend, knowing you will never have the chance to play in one," said Corey Smith, EOCF Board Chair. "The reality is that hockey is expensive, and for many families it just isn't possible. That's why we are excited to partner with Kidsport to help alleviate the cost of playing hockey for kids from underrepresented groups. With this donation, we will ensure that Canada's game is within reach for all kids across Oil Country."
The average cost of a minor hockey registration fee across Oil Country is $750 per season. Currently, 25 localized KidSport chapters in Northern Alberta raise funds in their community to assist with $250 per season. Only being able to provide $250 to low-income families leaves a gap which prevents many kids from participating in hockey. With the EOCF's donation, KidSport is proceeding with the Hockey Assist program for registrations for the 2022-23 minor hockey season.
"It is important to recognize the leadership that the EOCF is demonstrating by investing back into the hockey community to grow the game of hockey in Oil Country. It is unfortunate that the game has become financially inaccessible to many families. This strategic partnership with KidSport will ensure that low income, Indigenous, and new Canadian kids are able to play," said Greg Ingalls, Executive Director at KidSport Alberta.
"Our 25 local KidSport chapters are collaborating with local minor hockey associations to grow the game in their community. Our partners at Sport Central and Rosenau Transport are going to ensure that we are able to get hockey equipment to those kids who need it as well. The Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta is going to help us get more Indigenous kids playing and Hockey Alberta has played a huge role in connecting everyone in the hockey community. This project is truly a team effort to get more kids playing hockey in Oil Country."
"My kids love being a part of something special," said a current KidSport parent. "My son loves scoring goals. My oldest daughter has struggled with depression and anxiety and when she's on the ice she feels like a different person with no stress. When they play, it helps them learn to contribute at home. They know that being a good member of society and in the home is the key to being a great team player."
Families in Oil Country can visit KidSportHAP.ca to learn more and register for the program.