Young lives will be changed because of a donation made from one hockey team to another.
The recipients are youth aged five to 19 who will be provided with an opportunity to play with the junior hockey league run out of The Salvation Army’s Richmond Hill Community Church, O.N., an opportunity that some would not have had otherwise. Sponsorship covers all equipment and registration fees.
The Richmond Hill Stars AA hockey team was the donor—a team of boys aged nine to 11—under head coach Brian Wilks. Three of the team members helped pack toy hampers at the church over Christmas last year.
“Because of their donation,” says Matt Delaney, sports and recreation outreach co-ordinator, Richmond Hill Community Church, “more kids can be sponsored to join our league. That means we build more relationships and have a greater influence in our local community. Furthermore, the long-term mentoring leads to opportunities for the children to accept Christ.”
Some of the children who are sponsored to be a part of the hockey league are identified as being in need by their school—one of eight currently connected to Richmond Hill Community Church.
“The hockey league isn’t just about giving a child an opportunity on Saturdays during winter to play ice hockey for a few hours,” says Delaney. “That’s not enough. We need to maintain contact with the kids year-round and so I go into schools, create relationships and offer mentoring.”
In turn, other needs of the children are often met. They might receive school books their family could not afford to purchase or they may be sent to an Army camp.
“The continued connections off the ice have led to great results,” comments Delaney.
“I can think of two boys who were sponsored to play hockey with us. Through sport, we developed quality relationships and the church also sponsored them in swimming and to attend a camp. There, they committed their lives to God. Now they attend youth group and the family has also had a financial turnaround.”
When Delaney accepted the cheque from the Richmond Hill Stars AA hockey team, he thanked the team and explained how their donation would help others enjoy hockey like they do.
“I was also able to talk to them about The Salvation Army and how it is a Christian organization,” he says. “It was clear to me that the kids in the team have a heart to help others.”