Northeast Eagles win Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup, $100K for charity
Team is donating prize to Rainbow Riders Therapeutic Riding Centre
The Northeast Eagles have won the 2020 Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup — which comes with a prize of $100,000 for a St. John's horse riding therapy program.
The Torbay, N.L., hockey team beat teams from Manitoba and Saskatchewan to secure the win. After becoming a top three finalist earlier this month, the team was chosen as the winner by a panel vote.
The team found out Saturday, when host Ron McLean announced the winners on Hockey Night in Canada.
"I was really surprised. Very proud and very happy," goaltender Sam Chaulk said.
I often say riding gives me freedom, and the horse becomes my legs.- Nathan Chaulk
The team was inspired to help Rainbow Riders because of Chaulk's brother Nathan, who loves riding horses in the program as a form of therapy.
"It means a lot," Nathan said.
"I often say this place is my home away from home. And I often say riding gives me freedom, and the horse becomes my legs."
The team raised over $20,000 for Rainbow Riders before winning the Good Deeds Cup. With the victory, the total amount raised is around $124,000.
Kelly Sandoval, executive director of the Rainbow Riders Riding Centre, said the donation will greatly impact the services the group can provide.
"It's going to be something that we can really reach a lot of kids that really need us, that can benefit from the therapeutic riding and other programs that we offer," Sandoval said.
"It's huge. It's just incredible. We rely very much on community support. We don't have any guaranteed funding, so something like this is really just a game-changer for us."
Sandoval said she wasn't totally surprised the Eagles won the Good Deeds Cup, after she saw the support from the community.
"You couldn't help but notice that we had so much support," Sandoval said.
"While we knew they had done a super job rallying the community, it was still in somebody else's hands."
David Steele, coach of the Eagles, said the experience has helped the kids grow as a team.
"We've had a great season on and off the ice," Steele said.
"[It] really helped bring the team together, bond. And you can just see it, there's a great team spirit amongst these kids."
With files from Stephen Miller