Outfitting the World, One Child at a Time
The main focus of the Hockey Without Borders equipment initiative is to complement our coaching program. Our coaches cannot teach unless our kids are outfitted in at least the basic complement of equipment to enable them to participate fully and get as much as possible out of our program. Equipment forms the foundational element of any hockey initiative. Once participants have the necessary equipment and those within the community provide the basics of skating and ice hockey, our coaches can then be introduced, thereby bringing the program to the next level. The hockey community can then begin the process of building rinks, forming an ice hockey association and in turn a national team for men and/or women and ultimately seek admittance into the International Ice Hockey Federation (the “IIHF”). It all begins with having the necessary equipment to start.
SOURCES OF EQUIPMENT
We source equipment in several ways and determine how best to satisfy the needs of those who request assistance. Understandably, our priority is to outfit the communities where we send our coaches, however, we also take requests from communities that may either not be in a position to host one of our coaches due to their nascent stage or communities we have helped in the past who wish to continue to enhance and improve their equipment inventory.
Our philosophy is to move equipment out as quickly as we receive it. While we have storage facilities available, we would like to send it to the kids without undue delay. To that end, we invite recipient communities to provide us with both immediate and ongoing needs.
As of the fall of 2021, we have ongoing requests from India. Further, we have reached out to several programs in the Middle East including Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco to determine how we can best help those programs. We are especially proud of our work with Canada’s indigenous communities where we strive to attend to their requests for equipment. We also invite all of our coaches to gauge the needs of the recipient communities.
Our used equipment comes primarily from community collections and at any point in time, we are able to accommodate small requests. We are prepared, however, to ramp this up with periodic calls for additional equipment. Storage is always limited, so we try to meet the needs on a “just-in-time” basis. On occasion, we also have access to new equipment from our sponsors that may be made available as well. We continue to foster and expand our relationships with additional suppliers of equipment and accessories, such as tape and laces, whether through manufacturers or retailers as well. We have a relationship with Play it Again Sports in Montreal (Decarie) that has provided equipment periodically and that is also able to turn many of our donated items into cash for the program.
We have been speaking with several franchisees at Canadian Tire, and we hope to engage in a more formal relationship with Jumpstart through the Canadian Tire head office as they have had difficulty in retrieving the equipment from franchisees and getting it to communities who need it. As of the summer of 2021, we have just begun working with the Sens Foundation, we are not sure of the volume that we can rely upon at this time.
Over time, we have determined that the list of equipment requested in order of priority is the following:
Neck guards; and
Sweaters & socks
Of course, we have access to goalie equipment as well.
As far as our used equipment is concerned, we have permanent collection bins at the Samuel Moskovitch Arena in Cote Saint-Luc, Quebec. Our main storage facility is situated in Ste-Agathe North, Quebec (about one hour north of Montreal) and we have access to warehouse space in Lachine and near the Marche Centrale in Montreal. All equipment collected in Ottawa is either brought to the Saint-Agathe North Transit facility or to Montreal. We also have a storage facility in Toronto. We believe that the preferred manner in which to proceed outside of Montreal is to hold periodic collection days in the community with a plan to move and store the equipment until it can be sent off to a deserving recipient.
We have a relationship with Air Canada which has been instrumental in getting equipment overseas. As far as transport companies are concerned, we are beginning to work with Maislin Transport.
Another method we have employed in the past, is to use diplomatic channels to transport equipment from Canada to another country, either through Canadian diplomats going to a country where a recipient community is situated, or that country’s diplomats returning home from Canada. This has worked successfully with India, Israel and Serbia in the past. One of the benefits is that it avoids the possible duty issues as diplomatic containers are exempt from scrutiny. If this model can be replicated among as many of our recipient countries that would provide a very important transportation channel.
Our goal is to bring the sport of hockey to life, we are very happy to work with any community that wishes to work with us wherever they may find themselves around the globe.
For more information regarding our equipment program or HSF in general, please email David Lisbona at: email@example.com