The Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) is excited to announce the recipient communities across the province that have received free equipment to the start of the season, designed to encourage new hockey families to try out the sport.
In the program known as Player and Goalie Assist, selected Associations are given full sets of free CCM player and goalie equipment to loan out to young players to use as needed. The equipment is sized for U9 and Below age groups. A total of 70 Associations were selected to each receive a full set of goalie gear, and 10 Associations received 10 full sets of player gear (100 total).
These Assist programs make it easier for new hockey families to fall in love with the sport without facing any financial barriers or having to make the commitment to purchase new equipment. Each set of equipment can be used by the local Association at its discretion, either loaning it out for the season or giving directly to players to keep as needed.
“The Player Assist and Goalie Assist programs have been able to make our sport more equitable,” said Karly Maurice, U9 Convenor with Penetanguishene Minor Hockey, one of dozens of Associations receiving the equipment.
“Eliminating some of cost in the equipment means that we have more members that are joining who aren’t traditionally hockey families, so it’s really helping grow our Association,” added Maurice.
Meghan Boucher is a hockey parent and her son Josh is using the goalie equipment provided after expressing interest in being a netminder.
“When Josh came to me and said he wanted to be a goalie, my first reaction was panic,” Boucher said, as she contemplated many factors including having to buy new goalie equipment.
“This program gives us the opportunity to try it at least. Not having to purchase equipment was huge. To give him that chance to go out and be goalie is great,” said Boucher.
Each year, Penetanguishene Minor Hockey runs a popular equipment swap before the hockey season and they’ve seen how important it is to offer opportunities for parents to save money.
“It might not necessarily mean they are taking every single piece of equipment. They’re coming in for what they need. It really helps our younger players who are constantly going through growth spurts,” said Maurice.
All Associations were encouraged to apply for the Assist programs. The OMHA previously ran Player and Goalie Assist programs, however, this is the first year the two programs were run at the same time.
“Programs like Player Assist and Goalie Assist are crucial in helping our Associations remove some of the challenges in bringing young players into the game,” said OMHA Executive Director Ian Taylor. “We hope that these programs can help alleviate some stresses within our communities and encourage new families to try out hockey.”
The full sets of equipment include:
Goalie Assist: catcher, blocker, chest protector, pads, stick, bag
Player Assist: shin pads, pants, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, helmet, neck guard
|Bruce Peninsula||Ilderton||St. Thomas|
|Centre Hastings||Milton||Wasaga Beach|
|Chatsworth & District||Mitchell||West Lorne|
|Mt. Forest||South Bruce|
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