An organization that collects used skating and hockey equipment for those who may not otherwise have a chance to play has kicked off a donation drive in Edmonton.
Skate to Great is collecting used skates, helmets, sticks and other equipment to donate to various schools and youth organizations across Canada.
“All the skates that we collect in the Edmonton region stay local; they go to Sport Central, which is an amazing cause,” said Skate To Great co-founder Evan Kosiner.
Skate to Great, which was founded in 2012, believes skating should be a right, not a privilege, for every child regardless of their socioeconomic status.
“We want to make sure every kid has the opportunity to skate,” Kosiner.
It’s a belief shared by Sport Central, which works to make sure kids have access to sports equipment.
“Every kid should have a bike and a pair of skates,” said executive director Sheldon Oleksyn. “It’s just part of learning to interact with other kids, getting active, setting healthy patterns for life.”
Oleksyn said about 75 per cent of their clients are new Canadians and to be able to share our sports and culture with newcomers makes it all that much more special.
“Giving them a pair of skates and saying, ‘welcome to the ice and snow’ and, ‘this is what we do in our culture and we want you to be a part of that.’ And they want to be a part of that too,” he said.
“Putting skates into their hands is more than just activity, it’s actually enculturation and I think that’s exciting.”
Since 2013, Skate to Great has collected and delivered upwards of 25,000 pairs of skates to kids across Canada.
The donation drive is part of a national campaign being held in eight cities across Canada. Donations can be dropped off at the FedEx shipping centre at 3803 – 56 Ave. until May 31.
Sport Central also accepts donations of gently used sports equipment and bicycles at local police and fire stations, as well at its Edmonton office.