Cuban, Nicaraguan U-18 players leave Thunder Bay, Ont., with new baseball equipment
Curtis Trotz of CN Rail Police helped facilitate drive to donate cleats to Cuban team
Teenaged baseball players from Cuba and Nicaragua left Thunder Bay, Ont., after competing at the Under-18 Baseball World Cup with some new equipment.
Two separate efforts, which ended up coming together, provided cleats to every member of the Cuban squad and collected more than 20 gloves for the Cuban and Nicaraguan players, said Curtis Trotz, a constable with CN Rail Police and the person behind the cleat drive.
The players were a "great group of kids who came up here to play some ball and I mean, sports seems to bring everyone together," he said. "Just as a Canadian, I think it's our duty to do these kinds of things."
Trotz said he was speaking with a representative from the Cuban team during the tournament and subsequently reached out to colleagues across the country.
"We got talking and he said they were definitely in need of new and gently-used equipment for the team to use," he said. "We pulled it together and were able to get donations from police officers and employees ... from British Columbia all the way to Niagara region in Ontario in the course of an afternoon."
Another effort by REP Security, the firm handling security at Port Arthur Stadium during the world cup, collected the gloves for the players, Trotz said, adding that everyone worked together to get the word out.
Trotz said he's visited Cuba a number of times and has "a little bit of a connection" with the island nation.
"It's great to see that other people have come together and have seen how important it is to get these kids the equipment they need so that they can continue on," he said.
"I'm just proud that it went the way it did."