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'Hockey Is For Everyone...' Essay Contest Winner Revealed

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 05/07/19, 10:15AM EDT

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All Finalists revealed for 2019 Essay Contest presented by Respect in Sport

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud to announce the grand prize winner and finalists of the fifth annual Essay Contest presented by Respect in Sport. This year's theme was ‘Hockey is for Everyone'. The contest was designed to engage players in an educational manner while encouraging them to express their thoughts on what life skills they learn from playing hockey.

Over 200 essays were submitted and the Ontario Minor Hockey Association in partnership with Respect in Sport want to thank everyone for their participation. Based on the quality, creativity and passion demonstrated in their submission, five finalists were selected with one of them emerging as our grand prize winner.

Matthew Wong of the Markham Minor Hockey Association is this year’s winner who wrote about his teammates support each other and work together to succeed. For being named winner, Matthew will receive a $1000 worth of CCM Hockey Gear.

“The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud of all of the Essay Contest participants for their examples of positive life skills and the impact they are making on and off the ice in their hockey communities," said OMHA Executive Director Ian Taylor. "All of the essays submitted showed that the future of hockey is in a great place and that what we are teaching our players is more than just hockey skills."

“Respect in Sport is about providing a positive environment for all, so that hockey players can enjoy the game, and learn from the positive adult role models around them, like parents, coaches, and officials,” said Respect Group's Ontario Director Mark Allen. “Respect Group is very proud to support the OMHA Essay Contest and wants to thank every player who submitted an essay and also congratulate the five Finalists."

Ayhan Merchant (Brampton), Markie Annett (Caledonia), Vincent Gravel (Windsor) and Ziyad Khan (Unionville) were selected as the four finalists. For their tremendous writing abilities they will receive an OMHA prize pack.

Grand Prize Essay

Matthew Wong (Markham)

I think hockey is for everyone because it is very fun, helps you stay active and develop great friendships. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are, how big or small or if you are a boy or girl because hockey is for everyone. It also doesn’t matter what skill level you are, there will always be a team for everyone.

Hockey is for everyone as it brings different generations together and allowed me to connect more with my dad and brother. To be honest, I am a really shy kid and hockey has helped me a lot. It has created a comfortable environment for me to build my confidence, become less shy and taught me how to be a leader. I feel like I can be myself and still be a very important part of my team by bringing other things to my team. For example, showing good sportsmanship and working hard.

In hockey, everyone brings something a little special to the team. Some players can stickhandle well, some have great shots, some have good skating skills and others play good in net. They are like different puzzle pieces, but when you put them all together, you complete the puzzle, have a great team and everyone fits in. It doesn’t matter what you are good at, there is always a place for you. That’s why I think hockey is for everyone and I love hockey!

Finalist Essays

Ayhan Merchant (Brampton)

Hockey is for everyone because underneath the mask every one is different but once the mask is put on, everyone is a player, a team member, and an individual.

Every player in hockey brings their best in a game, if they are more agile they can play as a forward. If they are able to skate fast and intercept pucks and other players, they might want to try playing as a defence person. Hence hockey is for everyone having a variety of skills.

The best utilization of skills is put together strategically by individuals as a team. A team has to have loyal and hard-working players and anybody can try their best.

Above all, behind the mask is an individual no matter what race, ethnicity, culture and skin colour because once the mask is on, everyone is a hockey player. And that's what makes hockey for everyone. Which strongly follows with Canadian value systems where everyone is treated equally. Individual potentials are justified fairly, and everyone gets the opportunity to perform. And when everyone tries to perform their best and wishes to get even better everyone wins. This is the beauty of hockey, everyone has a part to play and everyone is important. No matter what your unique talent is, hockey will have a place for you to go.

Markie Annett (Caledonia)

Hockey is for Everyone because.... It doesn't matter who you are, or what school you go to, or who your friends are. Once you put your team jersey on we are all equals. We are teammates learning to work together to accomplish the same goal. We make new friends, we learn to work hard together, to support each, to encourage each other to do better. It's like our own little community. For me Hockey is the best sport in the world, because it brings so many different people together.

Vincent Gravel (Windsor)

I am unique because I do not speak English, I live entirely in a French family. When we first moved to Windsor, my parents signed me up for hockey and quickly we all realized that we had one divide; that of language. However, my love of the ice, the rink and the game were the bridge between me and my peers. At first, it was hard, I had to learn basic words and look around me to see what the others were doing on the ice to understand what the coach had just said in English. But the greatest part, was that my coaches, my peers and other parents tried to learn basic words in French to be able to communicate with me.

Soon, we were not just learning how to skate, and to play, but also to talk to each other despite our language differences. A community amongst us was built and my teammates and I figured out very intricate ways to talk to each other, without having to actually speak.

Hockey is for everyone because it does not discriminate. It allows all kids to be able to play no matter their background, the province they are from, or what language they speak. There is only one language on the ice, and that is the one of passion for the game.

Ziyad Khan (Unionville)

Hockey is for everyone regardless of what your nationality is, how old you are, and what your gender is. Hockey originated in Canada, and it has captured the hearts of Canadians and people all around the world. Hockey has a special way of bringing people together and allowing people to connect with one another. My grandparents came to Canada over 40 years ago, and hockey is one of the sports that they really enjoyed watching and made them feel connected to their new home. I can see the excitement in my friends and family when we gather to watch an NHL game on television. I have enjoyed watching hockey for as long as I can remember, and I have been playing house league hockey for the past few years.

Each week I look forward to playing with my team. We have a practice so that we can improve and learn new skills and play a competitive game. Hockey has taught me how to work hard, build new skills, work with a team, and most importantly to have fun and make new friends. I believe that hockey truly is a unique sport that has the power to change the hearts of people everywhere and I believe that hockey should always be played with respect for one another.


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