Grassick Rink volunteers Susan, Aleece, and Martin
When and why did you get involved with Sport Venture?
Susan: I got involved with the OHL during it’s second year. My middle son, who was 7 or 8 at the time (he’s now 33) came home with his older brother and said that there was some sort of organized hockey at the local rink (Leslie Park). I decided to investigate, and discovered a need for volunteers, so I decided to pitch in. I have since switched from Leslie Park to Grassick Park. The experience has been overwhelmingly rewarding over the years. I’ve met some amazing, incredible extremely motivated children and young adults over the 25 or 26 years.
Aleece: I got involved in Sport Venture through a university class and I’ve been coaching ever since. I got involved in OHL in 2015.
Martin: I first came out to the OHL about 15 years ago. One of my best friends, Rob Nixon, was running the rink at Grassick Park. I moved to the NC neighbourhood 11 years ago and have been coaching at Grassick since then. The first time you step out on the ice with these kids you realize how important this program really is and what a positive effect it has on their lives.
Susan: There are too many memorable moments to pick just one. There was the little girl who came out every hockey night and gave it her all. One night, when it was -59 with windchill, I had to go out on the ice and physically carry her into the shack. There were the two brothers who walked from Regent Park to Leslie Park in the Cathedral area carrying their hockey gear every hockey evening. There was the young fellow whose family moved out of the area, so he got a flyer route so that he could take the bus to hockey. There was the 9-year-old boy who always brought his younger brother (3 years old) to hockey. The 9-year-old dressed his younger sibling, made him snacks and brought him each week because the older boy wanted his little brother to see and love the game like he did. There’s the young gentleman who, after he aged out of OHL, came back and coached for several years. There are many many more stories like these.
Aleece: My favourite moment in OHL was this year when one of our youngest players told me that the best part of hockey is sharing hot chocolate after the practices. He was just such a sweet little guy I couldn’t help but give him a big hug.
Martin: We had two brothers that had just started to play hockey. One night it was pushing minus 30 and there was about a foot of fresh snow. It was obvious we weren’t going to be able to play. but these boys really wanted to skate. We went out on the ice and shovelled an area about 15 ft by 15 ft so the boys could try to skate. Those boys were so excited and wound up being part of our program for the next six years! I think most of our kids share this same spirit. Being able to be a part of this is what makes this program so special.