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Inspired by the memory of two-time Stanley Cup winner and Edmonton Oiler Great, #27 Dave Semenko, Dave’s Drive invites sports fans to give their gently-used sports equipment and/or funds so children who want to play, but can’t afford the equipment, are given the gear to participate.

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Parayko donates hockey equipment to kid in Edmonton

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.”

Click here to watch when “Parayko meets Kaila”.

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He Shoots, He Saves!

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.

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Dan Barnes: Oilers head coach Todd McLellan steps up for Sport Central kids' equipment charity

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.

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Edmonton Oilers head coach takes the baton from Blues' Ken Hitchcock, takes over as Sports Central ambassador

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.

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Golfing for gold: building confidence and community among Aboriginal youth

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.

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RCMP and Sport Central help kids through sport

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.

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Sports charity scores huge donation for Fort McMurray thanks to iconic hockey equipment brand