Lancer Hockey To Provide Humanitarian Support To First Nations Communities In British Columbia

Tuesday May 24th, 2022

Posted at 4:15pm

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As part of their training camp this fall, The Windsor Lancers men’s hockey team will travel to British Columbia to provide humanitarian support to First Nations communities in the Nicola Valley impacted by the 2021 wildfires and floods.

“Our goal is to help change people’s lives,” said Lancer head coach Kevin Hamlin. “We want to do something that will foster a positive relationship with the First Nations community. The natural disasters combined with the horrific news of the residential schools are more than anyone should have to deal with. Providing homes for five families is a great start, and I hope it will inspire other groups to do something similar.”

They will partner with Unifor Local 444, the First Nations Emergency Service Society (FNESS), the city of Merritt, British Columbia, and the Merritt Centennials Jr. A hockey team on this initiative.

Unifor will contribute to the experience by offering their expertise and tradesmen to the cause while also committing financially.

“Having developed a relationship with the Lancer men’s hockey team over the last few years, we are once again excited to partner with the program on this great initiative,” said Unifor Local 444 President David Cassidy. “We learned early on in our association with the blue and gold that Coach Hamlin and his staff were not just about teaching their athletes the art of hockey but building young men of character and decency. We are again proud to work together at a Unifor National level with the Lancers on this fantastic cause in helping to rebuild infrastructure for First Nations communities in BC that have been devasted by fire and floods the past two years.”

Impacts on First Nations and other communities have been significant, and recovery will require the development and implementation of a broad range of activities to address social, environmental, and economic needs over the short and longer term.

“FNESS would like to acknowledge the Windsor Lancers and Unifor Local 444 for their leadership and commitment to supporting First Nations communities in the Nicola Valley,” said FNESS Mitigation Specialist Larry Price. “We very much appreciate the efforts involved, and as a result, this project initiative will not only support a community build but also provide the youth in the community an opportunity to enhance their hockey skills.”

In addition to rebuilding homes, the Lancers will offer a hockey academy to the Centennials and educate the young First Nations community through their additional community initiatives and presentations, Lancers Skate Against Hate, Lancers Shutout Domestic Violence, and Lancers Against Bullying.

The blue and gold will play two exhibition games against Trinity Western University and the University of British Columbia. Both games will help raise money to assist the First Nations Nicolo Valley, and all proceeds will be donated back to the young indigenous people to give them an opportunity to buy hockey equipment and experience the joy of the game.

“We want to educate our student-athletes about the power of volunteerism and hope they gain a social awareness that could change their lives,” said Hamlin. “Our community outreach initiatives are important, but this will surpass anything we have done in the community. We are hopeful that we can leave a legacy in Merritt that will challenge others to do the same.”

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