The Sidney North Saanich RCMP, the Central Saanich Police Service and the Peninsula Panthers will join forces next week to host a ball hockey challenge with First Nations youth.
The two police forces and members from the junior B hockey team will host the event on Thursday, Nov. 14 at the Tsawout gymnasium.
The Panthers have framed a game jersey that will be presented prior to the game and organizers are expecting around five police officers from each department and around 10 members of the Panthers for the game.
“The next night, on Friday, Nov. 15, every single youth that attends the ball hockey challenge on Thursday will be admitted into the Panthers game for free,” explained Panthers hockey operations manager Pete Zubersky.
Zubersky also noted that there will be an on-ice ceremony prior to the game on Friday which will feature Connor Logan from the Peninsula Panthers and Lynden Eddy from the Nanaimo Buccaneers taking the opening face-off. Both players are First Nations.
“Connor [Logan] is currently in the top ten in VIJHL scoring and I expect that someday he will be playing junior A and beyond.
“I definitely see him as an NCAA scholarship player,” said Zubersky, adding that he hopes showcasing talent like Logan’s will inspire youth to get involved.
“We want to demonstrate to First Nation youth and youth in general that there are opportunities out there for them, they just have to chase the dream, whatever that may be,” he said.
Before the game, Addie Elliott will sing the national anthem and Green Party interim leader and member of the Tsartlip First Nation Adam Olsen will do the ceremonial puck drop for Logan and Eddy.
“This event is very important to our organization and we’re really looking forward to it,” said Zubersky.
“The two evenings will be very special for everyone involved, especially First Nations Youth who are the focus of our efforts.”
The ball hockey game on Thursday, Nov. 14 in the Tsawout gymnasium happens at 6 p.m. The Panthers’ home game against the Nanaimo Buccaneers begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15.