by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
ST. LOUIS – Thanks to Colton Parayko, there’s a little girl in Edmonton who is getting to try hockey for the first time.
Last month, the Blues defenseman worked with his equipment supplier – Warrior Hockey – to donate some hockey gear to Sport Central, an organization in Edmonton that gets equipment for children whose families are unable to afford it.
“Kids come to Sport Central under a certain poverty line and they’re able to go in and get fitted for equipment,” Parayko said. “It could be hockey, but it’s not just hockey. They cover all sports. They give an opportunity to kids who might not have an opportunity to play. It’s pretty special.”
Thanks to Parayko’s donation, the little girl in Edmonton is learning to become a goalie.
For the Blues defenseman, learning someone got the opportunity to play who otherwise wouldn’t have makes the extra effort worth it.
“I was very, very fortunate to be able to play sports growing up, and I was in a family that was able to support me and help me play,” Parayko said. “If that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now in this position. Hockey changed my life completely. If I’m able to give someone the chance to play that doesn’t always get the chance, it can be life changing for a kid.
“If she doesn’t play for more than a year, at least she had the chance to try,” Parayko added. “It’s a life experience and that’s all that matters. I’m just fortunate to be in a position to help.”
The boost to find the right place and path in life can come in the most unexpected ways. For family doctor Chris Le, it came years ago in the shape of a hockey puck.
Le, who graduated from the U of A’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry in 2013, is currently collaborating with Sport Central—an Alberta-based organization that provides equipment to kids who cannot afford it—and helping raise funds to “return the favour” after being a recipient of donated hockey gear during his childhood.
Before taking the Sport Central handoff from friend and rival Ken Hitchcock, Oilers head coach Todd McLellan wanted to know what made the uniquely Edmonton place tick.
He’s a hands-on guy who needed to find out for himself why and how the staff and volunteers do the largely unheralded things they do inside a nondescript building on Wayne Gretzky Drive North — its concrete block foundation almost bulging with new and used sports equipment that goes to kids in need of some help. McLellan was already pre-disposed to jump on board, such was the power of Hitchcock’s passionate plea for help during a phone call last summer, after McLellan and Canada won the World Hockey Championships.
It started, of course, with Tiger Goldstick, Edmonton’s legendary man about sports.
Tiger was the original Eskimos (“Don’t touch me, Tiger, this one is serious”) trainer. He worked as an umpire, wrestling referee, beer rep, sports reporter and as host of Tiger’s Den on Popcorn Playhouse on CFRN TV who had regular guests like Gordie Howe show up every time they were in town.
Tiger was the world’s greatest scrounger of sports equipment for under-privileged kids and always had the trunk of his car full of the stuff.
It was only natural that in the beginning of Sports Central, Tiger Goldstick should be the ambassador and face of the incredible outfit of volunteers who supply sports equipment and bikes to kids who can’t afford them in this city.
The longest-running ambassador has been a former sports equipment salesman at United Cycle when he was coaching midget AAA hockey in Sherwood Park, a fella by the name of Ken Hitchcock, who was passionate about the project and used it to keep his connection to Edmonton.
Thursday Sports Central announced Todd McLellan had agreed to take over from Hitchcock.
When we think about golf, we often think of the mechanics: the fitted clubs, the perfect swing, the better score. Golf, however, is far more than mechanics. It is also a good teacher of discipline, sportsmanship, etiquette, and inner confidence. Several Aboriginal communities across Alberta have partnered with Alberta’s Promise partner Sport Central to create opportunities for local youth to build their skills and their self-esteem on the green.
Over 120 golfers enjoyed a much warmer day for our second annual Diane Brickner Invitational this year. The tournament took place on June 15, 2015 at the Edmonton Garrison Memorial Golf & Country Club.
Summer got a little bit brighter for the kids in Little Red River Cree Nation. Thanks to an ongoing community partnership with the RCMP and Sport Central, the remote community of Fox Lake recently welcomed over $10,000 in new and refurbished sports equipment for local children and youth — with everything from balls and nets, to bicycles and ball hockey equipment, and all the protective gear to keep kids safe.
A major donation announcement in Edmonton Friday signalled great news for kids in the Fort McMurray area who are eager to take part in sports but don’t have the resources to do so in the wake of last month’s massive wildfire.
On Friday afternoon, Sport Central announced that along with its partner, United Cycle in Edmonton, it would receive over $200,000 worth of hockey equipment from CCM Hockey, helping it take a major stride forward in its Sport for the North Equipment Drive.
Reebok-CCM Hockey’s Dave Ewanyk said as soon as he was contacted by United Cycle, “we knew we had to get involved.”
After fire ravaged parts of Fort McMurray in northeast Alberta, independent sporting goods store United Cycle and their partner, registered charity, Sport Central, joined together in an effort to collect and distribute sports equipment to those in need.
In response to the initiative to help Fort McMurray and area residents, CCM has pledged to provide over $200,000 dollars’ worth of hockey equipment to ensure that those affected by the fires can continue to play the sport they love. This donation includes a variety of items including skates, helmets and protective equipment. Additionally, CCM and its independent retail partners will work together to offer a 40-percent discount on all CCM products for residents of Fort McMurray.
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) has unveiled a Dave Semenko Legacy Project in honour of the former Oilers forward who passed away last year after losing his battle with cancer.