The 2007 St. Thomas Junior Stars Minor Peewee hockey team has accepted the challenge of changing their community for the better.
Every year, Peewee hockey teams across Canada enter to win the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup by submitting a one-minute video of their team’s good deeds. The winning team receives $100,000 to a local charity of the team’s choice, plus a ceremony in their hometown and a feature on Hockey Night in Canada.
This St. Thomas Junior Stars team has done not one good deed, but many. In October they collected food and personal care items to donate to the food bank for Thanksgiving, and the next month they sold chocolates door to door to raise money for STEGH. Packing shoeboxes at Christmas Care, shovelling driveways, and volunteering on Saturday at the STMHA Hockey Moms Holiday Food Drive have been their good deeds for December. Documenting this team effort and submitting the video to the Good Deeds Cup by Jan. 2 will give the Peewees a chance to win big for St. Thomas.
The team has received support for their good deeds from some local businesses. Karen Johnson and Paul Johnson from Disbrowe Chevrolet matched the Peewees’ donation to the hospital with another $500 donation (totalling $1000) and added in two additional $500 donations to Christmas Care and the St. Thomas Elgin Food Bank.
According to the Peewees’ Team Manager Diana Wilson, however, doing good deeds has not just been this season, and there’s more at stake than winning $100,000. “It’s always been an initiative of the coaching staff to make sure that they [the players] are doing better for the community,” she says.
Before the Good Deeds Cup was in sight, the coaches and parents had already been working on teaching the kids how to be better citizens and give back to their community, but “the competition helped us elaborate on that,” Diana says. The team motto this year is “Accept the Challenge,” which means both on and off the ice.
And while winning $100,000 for a St. Thomas charity would change a lot of lives here, Diana says she doesn’t want the kids to be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. “I feel like if we don’t win, we’ve still accomplished a lot,” she explains. “Our ultimate goal right now is to get the point across that being better people every day is what is going to get you through life.”
The 2007 St. Thomas Junior Stars Minor Peewee team is made up of 17 eleven year olds, many of whom have played together for the last four or five years under the same coaches. Rallying the kids to go out and spend their time volunteering hasn’t been difficult, according to Diana, whose son has played on the team for five years. “They’ve always been very responsive,” she says, “and they are kids. If they can be involved and be together, they’re happy for it.”
Being able to play rec hockey is a privilege in itself, and Diana points out that the kids on the team have everything they need and more. Helping the players understand what it’s like to not be as fortunate as they are is a huge part of why the parents and coaches have spent hours organizing and supporting the team’s volunteering efforts. “That’s been our grand prize, making sure that our kids know better and act better,” she says.
The Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup’s ten semi-finalists will be announced on Jan. 26, 2019.
Photos by Marty Lewis | Establish Media