The Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) has revealed the recipient Associations of its new Player Assist Program presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario.
The pilot project will eliminate the cost of equipment for 350 hockey families across 10 minor hockey associations for players under 7 entering the game.
The sets include skates, shin pads, pants, shoulder pads, elbow pads, neck guard and helmet. The associations will retain the 350 sets of equipment at the conclusion of the hockey season to loan to players in following years, similar to loaning out a library book.
The 10 Associations who have each received 35 sets of equipment over the past month are: Flamborough, Georgina, Ilderton, Parry Sound, Shallow Lake, Simcoe, South Huron, Southpoint, Stirling and Twin Centre.
“With hockey now back on the ice, we know this equipment is going to be put to use right away,” said OMHA Executive Director Ian Taylor. “We know some of our families are feeling the pinch because of COVID-19 and we hope programs like this one will help families participate in the game across the province.”
“To first get into (hockey), it’s very difficult for families because of the cost,” said Todd Bevand of Georgina Minor Hockey, one of the 10 associations who have received the equipment. “This is going to provide a lot of kids with opportunities to play a game that maybe they wouldn’t be able to play without this.”
The OMHA is working with each of the 10 Associations on delivering programming for the recipients to ensure a positive first experience. The Associations are each hosting an Initiation Program festival as well as parent information sessions throughout the season.
Since 2018-19, the Egg Farmers of the Ontario has supported the OMHA’s Playdowns where more than 31,000 minor hockey players compete on 6750 teams from January through March. With Playdowns unable to take place the past two seasons because of the pandemic, the Egg Farmers of Ontario wanted to support OMHA participants in a new way.
“Egg Farmers of Ontario is proud to be a part of a program that supports and encourages children to be active as part of a healthy lifestyle. We are excited to lend a helping hand to new players who are keen to learn about Canada’s favourite past time without the worry of the cost of equipment,” said Scott Helps, Egg Farmers of Ontario Chair.
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