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The Equipment Guy fields some questions from the bottom of the bag. (Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

A couple of times a season, my kids remove everything from their equipment bag in an effort to find a lost piece of equipment or an article of clothing or something else they thought they had but now can’t find.

It’s always interesting to see how many little odds ‘n ends we find during this semi-annual bag check. I’m talking everything from uneaten post-game snacks and drink boxes to somebody else’s sock or t-shirts or hairbrush or hoody or tournament souviner. 

Today, after digging through my online equipment bag, I’ve discovered a few odds ‘n ends at the ‘bottom of the bag’ as well thanks to some email replies and a personal equipment revelation that helped my daughter’s cause between the pipes.

KidSport update

During the holiday season, I wrote a piece about donating some new or used hockey equipment to local organizations like KidSport.

Adam Vickers is the Program Coordinator for KidSport Ontario and he sent me a timely email with some updated information.

Vickers wants to make sure Canadians are aware that the KidSport program offers equipment grants along with registration grants to underserviced youth around Ontario. 

"Especially with the high cost of minor hockey and the hard economic times ahead, the KidSport program will be a big help to struggling families trying to enroll their kids in Canada’s sport this spring," Vickers adds in his email.

He says the key now is making needy families aware that a program like KidSport exists and "they shouldn’t feel ashamed in applying or asking for money," he adds. "No kid should be left on the sidelines and all should be given the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of minor hockey."

For more information on how to donate, or how to get your own children onto the ice, visit www.kidsport.on.ca.

Helmet Safety update

Dr. Charles Tator is a renowned neurosurgeon from Toronto and the founder of ‘ThinkFirst’ which is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries.

Dr. Tator sent me an email offering a few additional ‘Healthy Helmet’ tidbits including some tips on making sure the helmet fits properly.

"The helmet should sit two finger breadths above the eyebrows.  We teach the one-finger rule for determining if the strap is sufficiently tight. Only one finger should be able to be inserted between the strap and the chin."

Dr. Tator invites everyone to check out www.thinkfirst.ca for more information on helmet safety and their special programs like ‘Brain Day’ and the ThinkFirst helmet fitting clinics.

Never choose fashion over function

If they ever put together some kind of ‘ThinkFirst’ seminar on how to outfit the goalie in your life I’ll be the first one to sign up and here’s why.

My 11-year old daughter is in her second year as a full-time goalie.  From day one, she’s been very well protected, especially around the throat area because she’s got one of those nice and shiny silver neck protectors that dangle from the bottom of her goalie helmet. 

At a recent practice, one of her coaches politely asked me if we’d consider getting her a different throat protector because she might be having some trouble seeing the puck when it’s straight down at her feet.

Turns out Coach Adrian was right because the nice and shiny silver neck protector isn’t see-thru!

My daughter said "so that’s why sometimes when there’s a bit of a scramble close to the net, I can’t see the puck!"  Oops.  That would be my bad for choosing fashion over function.

Since then we’ve improved her view with a transparent throat protector and I’ve learned a valuable lesson; run everything by Coach Adrian before next season starts!

And that’s the story from ‘the bottom of the bag’ for this week.