NHLPA DONATES 55 SETS OF HOCKEY EQUIPMENT TO KASABONIKA LAKE FIRST NATION

… $30,000 worth of equipment donated through NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund maintains the legacy of the Lester B. Pearson Award and will assist the children of the northern community in becoming active in the game of hockey

TORONTO, ON (December 21, 2011) – It is the season of giving, and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the family of former Canadian Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson are teaming up in the holiday spirit to assist the northern Ontario community of Kasabonika Lake First Nation by donating 55 sets of hockey equipment for use by the local children, allowing them the opportunity to play the game of hockey.

The equipment was donated through the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund in honour of Lester B. Pearson’s commitment to sport, and specifically the game of hockey, as well as a means of preserving the legacy of the NHLPA’s Lester B. Pearson Award.

“Having represented a northern Ontario riding, Lester B. Pearson would be delighted that the NHLPA was making a donation of hockey equipment to First Nations children in the far north,” said Landon Pearson, a representative of the Pearson family and the co-chair of the North-South Partnership. “Together with the NHLPA, we are very pleased to promote opportunities for First Nation youth through hockey, a sport that continues to be a unifying force in Canadian society.”

“The members of the NHLPA are proud to join with the Pearson family through our Goals & Dreams fund, to bring the game of hockey to the children of the Kasabonika Lake First Nation,” said NHLPA Goals & Dreams Chairman, Devin Smith. “This is another great example of how NHL Players, through their Association, are giving back to hockey at that the grassroots level.”

The Kasabonika Lake First Nation is a remote northern Ontario community, accessible only by air and winter road, with a population of just over 900 people. The local recreation centre is a gathering point within the community, with hockey being the game that attracts and interests almost all who live in the community.

“The community here in Kasabonika is very grateful and thankful for the equipment donation from the NHLPA and the Pearson family,” said Gordon Anderson of the Kasabonika Lake First Nation community. “I don’t think I have ever seen so many happy faces as I did when the children were receiving their new equipment.”

To view photos of the children of Kasabonika Lake in their new hockey equipment, please visit www.nhlpa.com.

In 1999, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) launched the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. Over the past 12 years, more than 60,000 deserving children in 25 countries have benefited from the NHLPA Goals & Dreams donations of full sets of hockey equipment; the players’ program has also assisted with upgrades and the building of hundreds of arenas world-wide. To date, NHLPA Goals & Dreams has donated more than $20-million to grassroots hockey programs around the world making it the largest program of its kind.

The official text of the former Lester B. Pearson Award is plated on the current Ted Lindsay Award trophy, which continues to be presented annually to the “Most Outstanding Player” in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA; the names of the Pearson Award recipients are engraved onto its wooden panels, maintaining the strong history of the Award.

The future of Canada lies with our children, so why aren’t they featuring in the federal election?

Wednesday, April 27th marks a national day of action on Parliament Hill, organized by young people in support of Shannen’s Dream.

Shannen Koostachin, a thirteen-year-old girl from Attiwapiskat First Nation on James Bay, came to Ottawa three years ago with her classmates to ask Chuck Strahl, then Minister of Indian Affairs, for a school.

Strahl refused to see them. Tragically, Shannen lost her life in a car accident shortly afterward, but an ever-widening group of students and educators across Canada have taken up her dream.

Canada’s children should not be in a position where they have to beg the government for a chance to learn, but there are now 50 First Nations reserves where schools either do not exist – as in Shannen’s community -- or are in such poor condition that it is difficult for children to learn.

As Canadians, we should be deeply ashamed to allow such utter neglect of young people to exist in our own country. Yet where is this issue in the federal election?

Indeed, where are any of the serious issues related to children and youth, either in Canada or abroad?

Children have a right to education, we all agree. Promoting that right is hardly a partisan issue. I accompanied Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to the World Summit on Children in 1990, and stood by him when he ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, on December 13, 1991, surrounded by children from every province and territory.

Later, I was Prime Minister Chretien’s personal representative to the Special Session on Children at the UN, in 2002. Following each of these events, Canada prepared a national plan of action for our children because we know the three key conditions that enable children to thrive: adequate income for families with children; effective parenting within strong and cohesive families, and supportive and inclusive communities.

It is how to achieve these conditions that becomes partisan, but not the childrens’ basic rights to be healthy, safe and educated.

When you go to the ballot box on May 2nd, please think of the future, not just the present, and choose the governing party that is most likely to build both a Canada and a world fit for children.

 

NSP Newsletter, Spring 2011 - Cover page

 

We'll bring you up to date on the generosity of Ontarions when they learn of their fellow citizens' struggles in the north.

 

Read this three-part series to gain a better grasp of how Oxycontin can ravish a community, and how the members of our co-chair, Chief Donny Morris's community is battling back to health.

 

Three years ago, Karen Ward of FTC Canada was visiting the community of Mishkeegogamang when she noticed children roaming about after midnight. Puzzled by the sight of these little night owls, she asked around -- and discovered that they were waiting for their turn to use a bed. The housing shortage is so severe that the children of Mish must sleep in shifts.

Karen thought about what she might do to help, and asked Chief Connie Gray-McKay, with whom she has developed a warm friendship, whether bunk beds might be one solution. (The long-term solution, of course, is adequate housing. But in the mean time, entire childhoods are going by, and "children who can't sleep, can't study well," as Karen points out.)

Chief Connie thought it was a great idea, so Karen and her colleagues at FTC Canada researched the possibilities, and ultimately raised enough funds to buy 100 pine bunk beds from IKEA. They took fifty up to Mish this December and assembled them. (We don’t have to tell you how baffling and time-consuming it can be to assemble IKEA furniture, so kudos to Karen and her four volunteers!)

Another fifty are slated to arrive in Sandy Lake when FTC Canada ships donations this March.