Hockey players score big goal

Hockey players put their competitive spirit to good use over the weekend as they scored a goal for the kids, raising funds so more local children can play sports.

Kidsport is a community based sport-funding program that provides grants for children ages six to 18 to participate in a sport of their choice.

“Not all kids have the opportunity to be involved in sports,” said Wayne Florko, one of 11 Trail Kidsport committee members. “When kids have access to physical activity, they have the opportunity to reach their highest potential which can positively impact physical health, development of social skills, self-esteem, and friendships.”

The Beaver Valley Avalanche Hockey Club helped raise over $4,000 for Kidsport Saturday as it hosted its 37th annual tournament over the weekend. Fourteen teams participated from the area as well as from the Okanagan and East Kootenay.

Almost 400 players and their families attended the Avalanche banquet Saturday night, an evening where participants relax and socialize in addition to supporting a good cause.

“Every year we donate funds to a worthwhile cause and this year we were approached by Wayne Florko who asked us to consider Kidsport,” said Avalanche team representative Kevin Thomas.

The Greater Trail Kidsport campaign officially launched last month so the immediate and generous response was a welcomed surprise, said Florko.

“The amount raised was just really unbelievable and remarkable,” he said.

While the Trail campaign has yet to allocate funds, families can apply at the provincial level online at www.kidsportcanada.ca.

The provincial program helps families enroll their children in a sporting activity and allay costs of registration up to $300 per child anywhere in the Trail region.

The Trail chapter is targeting larger organizations for long-term support so corporations like BC Hydro, Teck and Kootenay Savings Credit Union play an important role, he said.

But every year at the banquet, the Avalanche team depends on local businesses to donate products that are raffled off and this year proved to be even more generous.

“We have donated money in the past to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, more specifically the children’s ward renovations that took place last year,” said Thomas.

But the real surprise for Florko came when his own team, the Gulch Cats, presented him with a generous donation then challenged other clubs to spontaneously take up a collection.

The teams’ players pitched in almost $1,500 including an anonymous donation of  $1,000. With funds from the raffle, the total exceeded $4,000.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Thomas. “The whole Avalanche club is very pleased by the amount of support we get every year from participating teams.”