How would you grow the game of hockey in your community with some extra dough?
The Hockey Night in Canada Help Fund
can help you answer part of that question. Since 2008, the fund has provided financial assistance to individuals and groups across Canada. The goal is to provide a boost to local hockey initiatives and ultimately make it easier to play and promote hockey.
Time is running out to apply for this year's grants, with the deadline on March 31.
Former recipients have used the money for everything from buying equipment to setting up teams. We recently heard from the Windsor Essex Ice Bullets, 2011 Help Fund recipients, who used their grant for new sleds, equipment and promotion for their junior sledge hockey team.
Something as simple as getting a sled can save parents a few hundred dollars and encourage their child to try the sport.
"The strength of a good hockey organization is the continued development of players, and as our players advance we need to have players to replace them. A strong junior team is fundamental to the continued growth of our organization," said Jenny Letink-Rivers, one of the team's organizers.
The Pioneer Park Panthers Hockey Club went with a "think pink" theme when it came to putting its money back into the organization. The Panthers were part of the 2012 group of recipients and they gave us an update on their girls-only hockey program.
"We purchased pink helmets and pink hockey gear, including sticks, bags and gloves. The girls loved it," wrote Steve Sanderson.
Forty girls participated in this program and 20 new Canadians also benefited from the new hockey gear.
"People have an expectation for Hockey Night in Canada to give back to grassroots hockey. That's how the idea for the Help Fund came up," said Joel Darling, executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada on CBC. "Anyone can apply. We're looking for more applicants from across the country."
Darling is eager to get the word out to more hockey organizers and volunteers before the deadline.
For more information, including the application process, rules and eligibility requirements, visit cbcsports.ca/helpfund
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