A Manitoba couple who won a $50-million lottery jackpot in November are sharing the wealth with their Sagkeeng First Nation community.
Kirby and Marie Fontaine have outfitted a hockey team and set their sights on a hot meal program at a school on Sagkeeng First Nation, about 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, following their Lotto Max win.
Claude Guimond, coach of the newly formed Sagkeeng 69s, said Kirby approached him shortly after the lottery win and suggested they put together a hockey team and hold a hockey tournament in memory of his late father.
'The reaction was just everyone was shocked — that he was willing to outfit the team, from top to bottom with top-of-the-line new gear. Everyone was floored.' —Claude Guimond
Guimond, also the principal of the Sagkeeng Jr. High School, then rounded up 19 players who range in age from 16 to 40. They were transported in seven vans to Royal Sports on Pembina Highway in Winnipeg where they were outfitted with $50,000 worth of new equipment courtesy of the Fontaines.
"The reaction was just everyone was shocked — that he was willing to outfit the team, from top to bottom with top-of-the-line new gear. Everyone was floored," said Guimond, whose 21-year-old son is also on the team.
Guimond said Kirby put one stipulation on the team members: that they be role models in the community — drug and alcohol free.
"The only thing Kirby asked of the boys was for them to lead a good life. Make good choices. Stay away from the alcohol and drugs, and give your old equipment away," said Guimond.
The tournament is being planned for mid-March.
As well, the Fontaines have been making inquiries at a local school to take over the hot lunch program. According to school staff, the couple have said they don't want anyone in the community to go hungry.
The school doesn't want to be named until the Fontaines are ready to make the official announcement.