50 bags of hockey gear gifted to Eagle Lake First Nation youth
The 'lightly-used' gear was a donation from Indigenous Sport and Wellness Ontario.
Christmas came a little early Eagle Lake First Nation this week.
A truck load of what is described as "lightly-used" hockey gear from southern Ontario was delivered to the community for distribution to youth.
Lloyd Napish is a councillor in the community, which is located 25 kilometres west of Dryden. He said the gear came to them as donation from Indigenous Sport and Wellness Ontario.
"They showed up on the morning of the 16th with with a big U-Haul," said Napish. "And they showed up to the arena and a couple of us local guys, we unloaded, I would say, about 40 to 50 hockey bags."
Napish said they then put the call out that afternoon, encouraging families young players to come by the arena and help themselves to any gear that they needed. He said the response was immediate.
"From that afternoon to about eight o'clock in the evening, I think we had about maybe 15 to 20 youth and families come by," he said. "And they are still coming as the week's been going on here."
Napish said Eagle Lake First Nation is a hockey community, and the game is a big part of the lifestyle of families.
"We have a lot of kids that even before they can really walk, they are getting skates on and hitting the ice," he said. "And we're still waiting for that one community member to kind of hit the NHL level."
Teri Kavanaugh is a hockey mother who took her kids to pick out some of the gear.
Kavanaugh said there was an incredible amount of gear to choose from including over 100 helmets, elbow pads and about 70 pairs of skates.
She said the arrival of the hockey equipment had a very positive impact on the youth in Eagle Lake.
"I'm a happy mom because I have two daughters that I took down yesterday and now they have hockey stuff," she said. "It sure put a big smile on my children's faces. To be happy in your community, that is one of the best things that you could ever feel good about, being a child."