The Flin Flon Minor Hockey Association (FFMHA) is now $50,000 richer, receiving a second major contribution from a national youth sports grant.
The local organization was named the recipient of a $50,000 donation from the Kruger Big Assist Second Assist program April 13, the second such contribution the program has received from the grant. The FFMHA received $25,000 through the Kruger Big Assist program, a funding program for six minor hockey associations across Canada, then another $50,000 through the Second Assist program.
The FFMHA was one of six recipients of funding through the first portion of the program, operated by Kruger Products, the parent company of paper tissue brands Cashmere, Purex, Scotties and SpongeTowels. In total, more than $600,000 in funding was provided through the Big Assist program this year.
The funds from the program will go toward assisting minor girls' hockey teams and programs, as well as including more female players and coaches. Money will also go toward developing programs to assist Indigenous youth and recent immigrants to Canada to get into hockey, as well as programs for kids with physical or neurological challenges.
The first round of funding from Kruger will be used by the FFMHA to cover costs for first-year players, covering all age groups from under-seven to under-13, as well as providing skill development programs and boosts for the FFMHA’s girls’ hockey teams.
Flin Flon's plans received an endorsement from Canadian Olympic hockey player Brigette Lacquette, who is an ambassador for the program. Lacquette, who is First Nations from Mallard, Manitoba, was the first First Nations woman to suit up for Team Canada's Olympic women's hockey team and is the first Indigenous woman to work as an NHL scout - a position she has held with the Chicago Blackhawks since 2021.
“As a First Nations woman who grew up in a small Indigenous community in Manitoba, I have personally experienced the challenges that kids from diverse backgrounds face when trying to access sports programs,” said Lacquette in a statement issued by Kruger.
“This association’s community is located far up north and this grant will provide a chance for kids who may not have had access to sports earlier to participate. I can only imagine the excitement they must be feeling right now and I am eagerly anticipating the incredible impact that this grant will have on their lives.”
"Now in its second year, the Second Assist is drawing attention to the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to create equal opportunities for all children to participate in hockey,” says Kruger Products CMO Susan Irving in a company-issued statement.
“We are honoured to support the Flin Flon Minor Hockey Association in its efforts to redefine the game and make a tangible impact in the lives of young Canadians.”