In the last two years, the FlipGive and HockeyShot.com Get In The Game Grant has taken on a life of it’s own. We never thought we would be so moved by the stories that our applicants submitted, and we are so grateful to once again be announcing our winners, kids who might have been left out at the start of this coming season without much needed funds. Individual winners receive a grant of $500, and teams receive a grant of $1000.
Hockey is more than just a sport; it’s a lifestyle that bring families and kids together. For a lot of players, hockey is the only place they can be themselves, a place where bullies at school don’t matter, where a team creates a common ground, and kids have the opportunity to let off some steam in a constructive way.
It’s no secret that the cost of playing hockey is rising every year. Even with second hand equipment, and parents saving up months in advance, playing sports often requires families to make trade offs to fund participation. Every year we are more in awe of what parents will sacrifice to keep their kids in the game, and this year was no exception.
Maddox P. Age 6: Pennsylvania
Maddox has such an immense passion for hockey, it’s pretty much all he does. “He lives the sport, and when he isn’t on the ice, he’s playing knee hockey or shooting pucks in the garage,” says his dad. Hockey has transformed not only his athletic ability, but his academic ability as well. “The discipline that he learns on the ice has translated to every other area of his life", says dad Zachary. "The sport has brought the entire family together, and our weekends spent on the rink are the ones where we are the happiest.” Without the hockey grant, this family didn’t know how they were going to make ends meet. “I don’t know how I could have lived with myself if I ever had to tell him he can’t play because we can’t afford it. This grant could not have come at a better time,” says Maddox’s dad. “We are so excited to be a recipient, and to see Maddox hit the ice this season.”
Blake E. Age 13: Minnesota
Being a part of a team is one of the most powerful things about playing hockey. It’s a place where kids can connect and make friends on common ground, and build friendships that are strong on and off the ice. Blake has spina bifida, and his wheelchair prevents him from participating in most sports with kids his age. Being on a hockey team has, quite literally, changed his life. “He doesn’t have to miss out on the locker rooms, the jerseys, the tournaments, the hotel fun, and the team parties,” says his mom Kim. It is such a powerful thing for Blake to be part of a team that understands the things he is going through. They have all been through surgeries and setbacks, and there is a sense of belonging that comes from playing a sport together. There are no Sled hockey teams near where Blake lives, so his family has to drive 2.5 hours to practice each week, plus the expenses for tournaments and registrations fees. We are so excited to be able to help Blake play this season and work toward achieving his goal of making the US National Sled Hockey team.
Tyler H. Age 10: Illinois
Tyler started playing hockey at just four years old and according to his family, “he took to it like a duck to water.” Tyler has high-functioning autism, and hockey was initially prescribed as therapy, but it has given him and his family so much more than that. Hockey has helped him make friends, and given him an outlet for his enormous energy. “Tyler had to sit out last season, and it was so hard on him,” says his dad Steven. “Hockey is his only extracurricular activity, it’s his outlet, it’s where he socializes and gains confidence. This sport has literally saved my son, it has been unbelievable to watch him give his all on the ice every game.”
Emily V. Age 13: Ontario
For Emily, hockey is more than just the sport she loves, it’s a chance to give back to a cause that’s close to her. When Emily was little, her baby brother died. Her parents took her to the Season’s Centre for Grieving Children to help her cope with the loss, and sports were suggested as a way to move through it. Her time at the centre meant so much to her, that now whenever she gets a shutout, she donates $5 to the centre. Others have pledged to help her, and this season she will donate over $1000 dollars. Emily and her family have hosted bake sales, yard sales, and bottle drives to ensure that she continues playing the sport she loves, but now that she is at the top level of hockey, her registration fees have tripled. This grant will allow her to keep playing the game she loves, while continuing her efforts to support the Season’s Centre.
Konnyr D. Age 12: Quebec
According to his family, Konnyr’s love of hockey borderlines on obsession; If he’s not on the ice, he’s shooting on his net in the driveway, practicing his stick handling in the backyard, or watching hockey videos. Hockey has taught Konnyr so many things, from discipline and drive, to confidence and the power of working hard. Konnyr grew up a really shy kid, but hockey has helped him so much in coming out of his shell. “We are a hockey family”, says mom Melanie, “when people ask me why we put ourselves in debt for sports our response is always the same; Our kids love it and we love it.” Hockey has given Konnyr a sense of belonging, a sense of family, and a sense of purpose.
Parker S. Age 9: Arizona
When Parker was born 3 months premature, his parents didn’t know if he would ever be able to play sports with other kids. Going in and out of hospital for the first year of his life with respiratory problems, his parents were told to prepare for the worst. “I taught Parker to skate at the age of 3 and signed him up for hockey,” said his mom Kristina. It took him some time to figure out how to navigate on the ice, but his family has seen tremendous growth from him in his skill and confidence level. Parker’s mom was warned that he may never be able to play sports, but he proved them wrong. “As a single parent, paying for the expenses is a struggle, but I want to give him this opportunity.” We can’t wait to see what Parker does on the ice this season.
FlipGive and HockeyShot.com are thrilled to give these teams and players some much deserved help getting on the ice this season. The grant is more than just a means to help under-resourced players, it’s a way for us to pay it forward, and nobody understands that more than our recipients. This year, one of our past grant winners informed us that due to their much improved financial situation, they would be donating $500 of their own to help another kid on their team. Hockey is a cornerstone of a lot of kids’ lives, and are so excited for all of the teams and player this upcoming season!
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