Senators foster a love at Boys and Girls Club

Alycia Douglass
Senators foster a love at Boys and Girls Club
From left

CORNWALL, Ontario – When it comes to the kids at Boys and Girls Club of Cornwall/SDG, one thing is certain – they’re crazy about hockey.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the club received a donation of ball hockey equipment from the Street Senturions Enjeu initiative, which is shaping up to be a game-changer for everyone involved. The program is the local component of the NHL Street program and helps to supply local community centres with the equipment to run free youth ball hockey programs.

Cornwall/SDG club Communications and Marketing Coordinator Trevor Smith says that the program was an easy sell. “When we tell them that an Ottawa Senator is coming to the clubhouse, people are generally pretty excited,” said Smith. “Especially since it’s Jesse, and he does such great things for our club.”

To date, more than 35 sets of equipment have been donated to local centres in hopes of encouraging child participation in the game of hockey in Ottawa and surrounding areas.

Sens-alumni, Jesse Winchester who hails from Cornwall, was there to present the equipment, and of course, try it out with some of the kids. “Hockey has always been a big part of my life since I was a little kid,” said Winchester. “More recently I’ve developed a relationship with the Boys and Girls Club, and the Sens asked me to take part in this event, which combines both passions.”

The program has been in existence for seven years, and this year, co-ordinator of fans and community development, Chelsea Lafranchise was tasked with the responsibility of reaching out to surrounding community organizations.

“I wanted to branch out to other places that needed the program just as much as the kids in Ottawa do,” said Lafranchise, remarking that Cornwall was an easy choice.

Having first approached Cornwall/SDG club executive director, Jacquie Richards, the proposal was met with overwhelming gratitude. “They connected with us a couple months ago, and we worked with them,” said Richards. “Fast-forward to today, we are now able to receive some awesome new equipment which will service our eight locations as we begin our street hockey program.”

“We’re fortunate because most of our staff has a background in hockey,” said Richards, noting that the club’s in-house has been helpful in the steps leading up to the the program’s delivery.

With hopes of incorporating ice hockey into next year’s programming, Lafranchise says that the street hockey program will act as a test.

“We’re trying to bring more programs to Cornwall and help kids learn to love the game and see where it can take them,” said Lafranchise.

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