Woolwich Friends of Hockey held its annual equipment swap last week, with parents and kids entering another season of hockey picking up gently used equipment to help them prepare for the months ahead.
“We hold this swap so people can bring their gently used equipment to us. These kids grow so fast, they grow out of it, so we got them the next size or two up. They give us their old stuff and we repurpose it and make it a new size and keep hockey as inexpensive as it can be,” said Rob Waters, who was one of the founders of the group in 2009.
The organization received a donation of $10,000 from the NHL Players’ Association to get started.
“When we got that donation, we invested in the locker, to get some visibility that people know that we’re here. It’s minor hockey, girls’ hockey, sunrays and even sledge hockey – we’ve supported all in one way or another,” Waters explained, noting the cost of equipment can add up for families.
“Everything’s getting expensive, and hockey is expensive. When you have two or three kids in hockey, it becomes extremely, extremely expensive, so we have seen increased demand for support. We’re happy to be here to help,” said Waters, who added that new equipment for one player can reach up to $1,200.
“Skates are a few hundred bucks, minimum. Helmets are $150, and shin pads are close to $100. So that’s where we come in to help. Sticks are extremely expensive, anywhere from $100 to $350,” he said.
Given the colour scheme of Woolwich Minor Hockey, red pants and helmets are always in high demand.
Friends of Hockey usually helps more than 50 kids with the equipment swap, however, that number has been increasing around 15 per cent each year. The group also provides assistance with registration fees. This year’s fees for Woolwich range from $150 to $615 for girls and $425 to $750 for boys.
Inflationary pressures have caused a higher ask for help, said Kyle Rank, whose dad was a group co-founder.
“Just given the financial state of everything these days, we’ve had a lot of people inquire about our program with the equipment and the financial assistance,” Rank said.
Those looking to make a donation to the organization or require support can contact email@example.com.