A group of local kids will get the chance to play on the ice like never before.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development has partnered local Greater Victoria schools with HEROS, a volunteer-driven charity, to give the chance for underprivileged kids to play hockey every week until March 12, 2020.
“Hockey is overpriced,” says Norm Flynn, founder, and president of Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS). “We wanna bring the fun back into the game and take the expense out of the game. I’d say it’s like Christmas in October for these kids.”
On Oct. 10, the kids dropped by Langford’s Sport Chek to be fitted in their fully-paid-for hockey equipment. Every Thursday starting from Oct. 10, 32 boys and girls from Grade 4 through 6 will play at G.R. Pearkes Arena with Saanich and Victoria police officials.
“We can’t wait to get on the ice and teach these kids some important life skills,” says Const. Matt Rutherford, from Victoria Police. “I’ve only played as an adult in a beer league, so these kids will give me a run for my money. At the end of the day, we love giving back to the community and we couldn’t think of a better way to do that.”
This program is the first of its kind in Victoria and is part of HEROS’ initiative to uplift kids across the country for the past 20 years. The charity has expanded to 28 communities.
The local kids that will make up the HEROS roster are from Tillicum Elementary School, Craigflower Elementary School, Rockheights Middle School, and Shoreline Middle School.
HEROS is a mentor-based hockey program that focuses on the most vulnerable youth. The team is called Future Stars, focusing on players that have socio-economic troubles and personal challenges.
“To us, having kids on the ice will keep them off the streets,” says Flynn. “It’s not necessarily about making them into the Vancouver Canucks. It’s about making them better citizens for life. Once a hero, always a hero.”