The West Carleton Warriors peewee hockey team is rallying for support in the final days of a contest that could see them win $100,000 to donate to tornado relief efforts in their west Ottawa community.
The local team — based in Carp — is one of three finalists in the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup, which highlights minor hockey teams across the country that are making a positive impact in their communities, based on the values they learn through the sport.
Chevrolet, the company’s hockey ambassadors and Hockey Canada will together select the winner of the contest and is expected to announce the lucky team on Saturday.
The contest’s organizers encourage those tracking the Good Deeds Cup to share on social media who they believe should take first place using the hashtag #GoodDeedsCup.
Chevrolet says it will donate $100,000 to the winning team’s charity of choice. In the case of the Warriors, their pick is West Carleton Disaster Relief, a coalition of community groups that formed to help the residents and families devastated by the tornado that tore through Kinburn and Dunrobin on Sept. 21, 2018.
Many of the Warriors were at the Carp Fair the Friday afternoon the tornado hit and took shelter in one of the buildings on site when the violent windstorm hit, said Heather Lucente, mother to one of the young boys on the team.
After observing the extent of the damage and realizing financial aid would be needed quickly, the team returned to the fair the next day and fundraised more than $4,000 for those in need, Lucente said.
Based on those efforts, the Warriors were selected for the top 10 finalists in the Good Deeds Cup from 300 teams that entered the contest, she said. Then, because of the number of views the Warriors’ contest video earned in the next round, the team found themselves in the final three.
Lucente said the team expects the winner to be broadcast during an intermission of the NHL games scheduled for Saturday, and so the group has rented the upstairs hall of the Carp arena to watch it together, “with bated breath.”
The West Carleton Warriors are in the finals with the KV Devils, based in Saint John, N.B., and the Pionniers de Lanaudière AAA relève of Quebec. The teams that come in second and third will each take home $5,000 for making the top three.
Between making the playoffs and this contest, Lucente said the group of young athletes — all aged 11 to 13 years old — are “a little bit keyed up.”
Regardless of whether they win, the Warriors still have big plans for their tornado relief efforts moving forward. Right now, the team is beginning to coordinate clean-up activities for the Dunrobin area in the spring and have put the call out for volunteers on Facebook.
Lucente said the young hockey players have friends and schoolmates who “didn’t have a home to go home to” after September’s tornado and wanted to help with clean-up efforts in the fall, but were told it wasn’t safe enough to pull off as a group. (Instead, they helped out with the Christmas dinner hosted for approximately 200 affected residents in December.)
“The boys really want to get as many people out as possible to get into the muck and clean up all of the rest of the debris,” Lucente said. “There’s been quite a big effort to try and find lost items, too.
“We’re hoping to continue with that and find some precious mementos that are still out there.”