Twenty-five young hockey players were grinning ear to ear at the start of their most recent hockey season after receiving brand-new gear from head to toe courtesy of the National Hockey League Players Association’s (NHLPA) Goals and Dreams fund and the efforts of a local RCMP officer, a mental health worker and their local minor hockey association.
The Goals and Dreams fund was started by the NHLPA in 1999 as a way for NHL players to give something back to the game they love.
To date, more than 80,000 economically challenged children in 34 countries have benefited from the program through the donation of full sets of hockey equipment, along with help upgrading and building hundreds of new arenas around the world.
More than $24 million has been donated to world-wide grassroots hockey programs so far, making Goals and Dreams the largest program of its kind.
The RCMP, led by Cpl. Dennis Munroe, and Community Mental Health, through the efforts of mental health and addictions worker Brittany Holm, partnered with the Naujaat Minor Hockey Association and applied to the NHLPA’s Goals and Dreams fund. The goal was to outfit 25 youth from Naujaat who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to play hockey and learn invaluable team skills.
Munroe said a retired RCMP corporal out of Ottawa, Sylvain Lemoyne, actually told him about the program, so he teamed up with Holm to put together an application and garner support from both Naujaat schools, mental health, the local recreation department and the hamlet itself.
He said they got everything together and submitted the application, and the program approved them for the 25 sets of gear.
“We got part of it in late last year but we never got all the pieces until just around Christmas time,” said Munroe.
“We used the schools and the recreation department to identify 24 or 25 kids who would be great candidates to receive the gear, measured them up and sent the measurements to the NHLPA co-ordinators for the program and they sent us 25 sets of gear, head to toe.
“This is a big program for them and they were just great to deal with. They bent over backwards to make sure we got everything we needed and that the kids were fitted with the right gear.
“I don’t think we had one single kid with any issues size-wise. They all seem to fit really well.”
Holm said she got involved as soon as Munroe asked her to.
She said her and Munroe kind of co co-ordinated the process from there.
“I knew most of the kids in the community, so I thought it would be a good suit for me,” said Holm.
“The kids were just thrilled when they were receiving their gear.
“Just the looks on their faces — they were excited. Very excited.
“We have a list of names of kids looking for gear next year, so we’re going to try it again.”