Surrey HEROS kids play hockey. (Photos by Parrodoxx Pictures)

VIDEO: Surrey hockey program for at-risk kids receives $150K

Donation from Fraser Grain Terminal, Fraser Surrey Docks will keep program running for three years

SURREY — A hockey program that uses sport to help at-risk Surrey youth has received a large boost.

Fraser Grain Terminal and Fraser Surrey Docks announced a $150,000 donation to the Surrey HEROS Hockey program on Monday.

It’s said the funding will give HEROS (Hockey Education Reach Out Society) enough money to pay for its Surrey operation for three years.

“This funding allows us to focus on what’s important — the kids,” said Kevin Hodgson, operational manager for the program. “Our goal is to give them tools to succeed.”

An event Monday (Sept. 18) kicked off the season, and was attended by Harnarayan Singh from Hockey Night in Canada’s punjabi edition.

The organization has been around since 2000. It began as a summer hockey program on the Downtown East Side for kids who couldn’t otherwise afford to play.

HEROS’ mission is to empower at-risk youth in grades 4 to 12 through ice hockey by instilling life skills, providing sport training, education and even scholarships.

It has since evolved into a hockey-based mentorship program that’s in 22 cities across the country, helping 7,000 Canadian children a year.

Last year, it first made the move to Surrey, helping 40 kids in a pilot project in partnership with the Surrey school district. With the new funding, they’ll continue to help that many kids per year.

Hodgson said there was “constant” interest for the program to move to Surrey, and HEROS wanted to be there.

The first year in Surrey went “extremely well,” he said.

“It came out of the gate stronger than any of the programs we’ve had across Canada,” said Hodgson, adding he’s been pleased to see huge participation from families of the kids in the program.

“That closes the loop for us,” he said of parent engagement. “The school, the community represented by us, then the kids and their families, all working togteher. It dramatically increases the likelihood these kids are going to be successful.”

Hodgson said typically, 10 per cent of players in hockey are female, but within HEROS, that number is about 30 per cent.

“And that number holds true in Surrey,” he said. “We have a significant amount of cultural diversity as well, ranging from newcomers to Canada who have only been here for a few months, first or second generation immigrant families, and everything in between. That’s one thing we’re really proud of.”

One of those kids is 12-year-old Evan Burgess. He said the program “teaches us to be role models for our community, to help others out if they are struggling, to talk with them and ask how you can help them.”

Another is recent Syrian immigrant El Hassan, also 12, who said HEROS helped him settle in Canada.

“I was having trouble making friends as I didn’t speak English,” said El. “HEROS helped me make friends, it helped me feel Canadian.”

The kids don’t just learn hockey, they also get to meet – and play with – NHL players.

Vancouver Canuck Sven Baertschi is HEROS’ ambassador and has come out to play with the Surrey kids.

Other NHLers supporting the program include Brenden Dillon (San Jose Sharks) and Jujhar Khaira (Edmonton Oilers), who were both born and raised in Surrey.

“They’re not behind a table getting autographs,” Hodgson explained of the hockey players’ visits. “When Sven came in, he took off his coat and headed into the locker room to help lace up skates. Some of the kids didn’t realize who he was until he put on his helmet with the Canucks logo. These kids get to build a connection with these guys as human beings, not as hockey players they see on TV. That’s really important to us.”

hockeyphoto

HEROS’ executive director Norm Flynn says the $150,000 donation speaks volumes about the donors’ “support for the communities in which they operate.”

Fraser Surrey Docks CEO and president Jeff Scott said the company believes that “community strength comes from working together.”

In addition to ice time, kids will also be introduced to the two companies who donated to the program.

“HEROS players will receive an ‘up close’ understanding of our facility and the many jobs our organization provides. This exposure may spark job interest and encourage career planning,” said Scott.

Casey McCawley, HEROS co-founder and vice president of west coast operations for Parrish & Heimbecker, agreed.

“A great success would be to see a kid aspire to be a railroad engineer, a heavy machinery operator, a logistics manager or the captain of a sea going vessel,” said McCawley. “It takes only a spark to ignite a dream and these opportunities exist in Surrey.”

The event included a tour of Fraser Surrey Docks.

To learn more about the program, visit onemillionskates.com/heroshockey/about.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Casey McCawley signs the $150,000 donation cheque to the Surrey HEROS Hockey program. (Photo submitted)

Harnarayan Singh from Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi Edition helps Surrey HEROS hockey kid suit up. (Photo: Parrodoxx Pictures)

Just Posted

(Image: CDC)
Fraser Health orders Surrey food-processing facility to close amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility also tests positive for the virus

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Six Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Lotto winner Erwin Espiritu. (submitted photo: BCLC media relations)
$1M lotto surprise for Surrey dad buying takeout food for son’s birthday

‘When I went to show my son, he said that there was six zeros on the screen, not three’

Pumpkins outside Malvinder Gill’s farm on 152nd Street in Surrey. (submitted photo: Sarah Wilson)
At Surrey farm, free pumpkins for donation to food bank

‘Amazing for the community, especially during the pandemic,’ says one local resident

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read