The Flin Flon peewee AA Bombers are used to hard work on the ice. Now, the team has entered a Canada-wide competition to help their community away from the rink.
The group of 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds has put their name forward for the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup, a national competition aimed at encouraging youth hockey players to be active in helping their hometowns. Through the coming months, the team plans to carry out 100 good deeds, with each player creating their own ideas of things to do.
Manager and organizer Marlene Gogal said the team unanimously approved of entering the contest.
“When we presented the idea to them, they were absolutely on board,” she said. “We went in and talked to them as parents to make sure everybody was on board – we have to help them, to some extent. Then we met them in the dressing room and said, ‘We’re thinking of entering the Good Deeds Cup, here’s the idea, what do you guys think?’ There were a bunch of questions and ideas thrown around. It wasn’t a question of whether they’d do it. There was no negative feedback. They were on board.”
Coach Brett Pearson agreed, saying, “They seemed enthusiastic right from the get-go. That was good.”
Some of the players already have a head start on the program, shovelling driveways, carrying groceries for the elderly and working with groups like the Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre and Lord’s Bounty Food Bank.
“I know a couple of kids have already done good deeds to donate items to the Friendship Centre and the Women’s Resource Centre,” Gogal said.
“Three of our kids gave a family a Christmas tree and decorations. Kids have been helping out at school, supervising school recess. They’ve been shovelling. There’s lots of things out there to do, and they’re just getting started. They have until just before Christmas and we started (in late November). They’re looking for ideas.”
The club has to submit their application before Jan. 2, 2019 and showcase their good deeds in a one minute video as part of the competition.
If the team wins the honour, they will receive $100,000 to the charity of the team’s choice, a profile of the team on Hockey Night in Canada and a special winners’ ceremony in Flin Flon, along with having the team’s name engraved on the Good Deeds Cup trophy.
The team would also become the second northern Manitoba club in as many years to win the award.
Last season, The Pas Huskies peewee squad received the honour for their work with local homeless shelter Oscar’s Place. Players served meals at the shelter throughout the season and submitted a video as part of their Good Deeds Cup package. The team earned $15,000 for winning the award, enough to help keep Oscar’s Place – which was in danger of having to either move to another location or shut down – operating in their home.
Gogal said the parents and players were inspired by The Pas’ example.
“I think some parents were talking about it last year, because The Pas did it. It seemed like a really good opportunity for the kids to give back to the community and have a chance to raise some extra dollars that could be donated,” she said.
“I think it was really quite inspiring, to see what a community could accomplish. The kids talk about it. When they go to the rink there, they notice that there’s been improvements and it’s because of what the Huskies did. They see tangible efforts there.”
Win or lose, both Gogal and Pearson hope the competition will inspire the young players to grow up to value community groups and charities.
“It’s part of the sport. It’s not just about hockey skills on the ice. It’s about who they are as people when they’re off the ice, doing something like this,” said Gogal.
Pearson said it’s an opportunity for the team to pay back the help they have received from Flin Flonners.
“The community gives us a lot of support, both financially through tickets and through sponsorship and all that, so it’s good to give back to a community that gives so much to us,” he said.