HOCKEY CARES

Part One is Complete – Part 2 to Attawapiskat in November!

The Hockey Cares project is about building relationships between the youth of Attawapiskat and Oakville ON, through a common love of hockey. This exchange, supported by Experiences Canada, and many other donors and sponsors, will continue to be life-changing encounter for many of the youth who will experience another culture first-hand and strengthen relationships with indigenous and non-indigenous youth. This project is about learning from one another, playing together and exposing (in particular) Indigenous youth from northern Canada to post-secondary opportunities and support systems.

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Project Overview

Hockey Cares is a project of True North Aid, with the mission of connecting youth through a shared love of hockey. Hockey Cares was founded by Sue Heddle of Oakville ON. For three years in a row, we have coordinated an exchange with Oakville and Attawapiskat bantam hockey teams.

Attawapiskat youth travel to Oakville in July, and the Oakville youth fly up to Attawapiskat in November to learn from their new friends, play hockey, and experience a new culture. All travel for the youth has been generously covered by Experiences Canada for the past 3 years.

Why Bantam-aged players? Age 13-15 is important because they’re in, or about to enter, high school. We want all players to see how important it is to complete high school. Only 4 out of 10 Indigenous youth finish high school, compared to 9 out of 10 non-Indigenous youth. At this age, suicide can also become an urgent and wide-spread problem for Indigenous youth. While there is much variation between different communities, average suicide rates are horrifying – five to seven times higher in First Nations youth, and eleven times higher in Inuit youth, when compared with non-Aboriginal Canadian youth.

By introducing Indigenous youth to the opportunities available to them in the Canadian ‘south’, they can see what possibilities are available to them. Many of them live in very remote areas in the Canadian North – and may never even see the world outside of their community. The Hockey Cares Project works with leaders at colleges and universities to not only show Indigenous youth the opportunities available to them, but also the support networks that already exist, especially provided by Indigenous people living in places like Oakville and the Greater Toronto area. Our hope is that youth will return to Attawapiskat and enrich their community.

hockey cares photo shoot

Hockey Cares is not just for Indigenous youth but also for non-Indigenous youth and their families. Hockey Cares is very much about ‘Reconciliation’ The long and tragic history of colonization in Canada often noted and remembered, heads shake sadly…and then nothing happens. “Raising awareness” can only go so far. “Raising awareness” by itself can’t stop suicides or provide clean drinking water.

We suggest that the problem for many well-meaning non-Indigenous people is that these issues are too abstract and mediated. Undrinkable water? Squalid shelter? Suicide epidemics? Rampant hopelessness? These all seem like someone else’s problems – the television or computer screen seems to distance us from them. If you’re a non-Indigenous person reading this, ask yourself – how many actual flesh-and-blood Indigenous people can you count as friends? Merely know socially? Do you have any friends among Indigenous people living in remote communities?

The Hockey Cares Project takes one small step toward changing this reality. Sometimes the simplest and most obvious options are the most effective. Maybe meeting a real live person actually affected by issues in an isolated community – forming friendships with them through the shared common love of hockey – can change things for the better. Maybe it will bring about lasting, real awareness in non-Indigenous people about the day-to-day challenges Indigenous people in Canada face. Maybe this will help win over new allies in young people, moving beyond ‘awareness’ and into a fight for justice for Indigenous people.

In short – maybe your donation can help bring about real reconciliation between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. We believe that making connections with youth can be part of the process of reconciliation.

Not a bad goal for a hockey tournament, eh?

Mission & Goals

  • To bring together youth from Oakville and Attawapiskat First Nation in the name of hockey by facilitating exchanges in July and November of each year.
  • Provide Attawapiskat youth an opportunity to learn about post-secondary options
  • To raise awareness about life in remote communities
  • Build acts of reconciliation and life-long friendships

Who, What, Where & When

Attawapiskat First Nation is located on the James Bay Coast and at the mouth of the Attawapiskat River. Its name means “people of the parting rocks” in Cree. Their current on reserve population is approximately 1500.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help with Hockey Cares? Where will my donation go?

Donations for Hockey Cares go to help offset travel and hosting expenses for the exchange with youth. For example, housing, transportation, food, and activities for youth.

I have a company and I want to help out with the next Hockey Cares project. Do you accept sponsorships?

YES! We would love to get your company involved. Click here to see the media generated from past exchanges and list of amazing organizations that helped make it a reality. We can work with you to find a partnership opportunity and a way to help. Contact us through [email protected] and we’ll get in touch with you right away.

How could I bring Hockey Cares to my own community?

Whether you’re part of a minor hockey association or an individual looking to get something great started, we’d love to hear from you. We are happy to share our program and inspire more communities to connect indigenous and non-indigenous youth through hockey. We have partnerships such as Experiences Canada that have helped us make our project a reality and we are glad to pass on these contacts and ideas, to connect more youth across the country. Reach out to us directly at [email protected] and we’ll chat with you about our program and how you could make it happen in your own city.

How can I stay up to date on Hockey Cares and the latest projects?

Please ‘like’ our Facebook page! We post regular updates to the page and it’s also a great way to see photos and videos of past and current events.

Hockey Cares 2019 Sponsors

Oakville Frank Sabatino Tournament
Accommodation Partner: Holiday Inn Oakville
Donor Tracy Marinucci
Oakville Rangers Hockey Club
Walmart Oakville
Sue Heddle Homes
film.ca cinemas
Oakville Place
N8 Identity
Piper Foods & McDonald’s Iroquois Shore (Oakville)
Charterability
​Corbett’s Source for Sports
Town of Oakville
Claystone Mortgage Team
Pigeon Organics

Hockey Cares 2018 Sponsors

Oakville Frank Sabatino Tournament
Accommodation Partner: Holiday Inn Oakville
Donor Tracy Marinucci
Oakville Rangers Hockey Club
Welcome Dinner Sponsor: St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Church
Walmart Oakville
Sue Heddle Homes
film.ca cinemas
Omar Sinno, Financial Planner
Oakville Place
N8 Identity
Piper Foods & McDonald’s Iroquois Shore (Oakville)
Charterability
​Corbett’s Source for Sports
Halton Food For Thought
Town of Oakville
National Sports
Sidelines Sports
CCM Hockey
Bauer Canada
​Higgins Event Rentals
Domino’s Pizza Iroquois Shore Rd
Be in Motion Physiotherapy

Other Sponsors

DOWNIE WENJACK FUND WITH TIDES CANADA
MISSISSAUGA CREDIT
CORBETTS SOURCE FOR SPORTS
BAUER CANADA
OAKVILLE RANGERS HOCKEY CLUB
EXPERIENCES CANADA

​PIPES & TAPS PUB
MIKE HANSFORD
TRACEY & TIANNA MARINUCCI
THE BEER FAMILY
JENSEN GROUP
ABORIGINAL PRINTING
PRISMAFLEX INC.

​OMUSH KEGOWUK EDUCATION
MUSHKEGOWUK COUNCIL
APRIL’S COFFEE SHOP
WESTERN JAMES BAY TELECOM NETWORK
NORTHERN STORE
KIMESSKANEMENOW (winter road)

THE TOWN OF OAKVILLE
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME
MARIGOLD PR
BOSTON PIZZA OAKVILLE
STEFAN LEGEIN
PITA PIT OAKVILLE
LONGO’S
SEAN MAGENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY
OAKVILLE PLACE

THE MAZZOCATO FAMILY
THE TURCO FAMILY
THE COOPER FAMILY
THE JAMIESON FAMILY
LARRY & DARLENE MACLEOD
THE GRAHAM-WHEAT FAMILY

​FILM.CA
MONASTERY BAKERY
STARBUCKS
POWER YOGA CANADA
BEAUCHAMP FITNESS
THE SCOTT FAMILY
PEESKER FAMILY
NORTHERN FREEZE HOCKEY
SMILEWORX DENTAL
OAKVILLE FUTSAL CLUB
ROUND TRIP STUDIOS
ON THE FLY LANDSCAPING
ROB MACDOUGALL
MICHELLE PREYDE
SUE HEDDLE HOMES

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