TORONTO – “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.”
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.
Kasabonika Lake First Nation is located 448 kilometres northeast of Sioux Lookout, Ontario and along the Asheweig River. We are a remote First Nation, accessible by air and by winter road.
“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.”
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.