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Indigenous Hockey Drive

MEDIA

About The Indigenous Hockey Equipment Drive

Graham McWaters is a hockey dad from Richmond Hill, Ontario, who started a drive for hockey equipment following an encounter at a Midland hockey arena with his son in 2015.

He was leaving the arena with his son and saw a player going in with a garbage bag full of equipment and then another player had two small duffel bags instead of the normal hockey bag someone would have to carry all their hockey gear. 

As he walked outside, he saw an adult fixing a helmet with no mask. He asked him where they were from, and he said Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island. He put Graham in contact with his girlfriend who was more involved with the hockey organization"

And from there, the First Nations Hockey Equipment Drive began. 

In the first year, McWaters reached out to his son’s Richmond Hill team for equipment donations, and they gathered eight bags and numerous hockey sticks. All of this was donated to Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island. From there he continued to gather equipment and various hockey associations delivered in a big way.

Two years ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs gave the Hockey Drive $75,000 worth of brand-new youth hockey equipment and in addition the Ottawa Senators Foundation has donated. We have received numerous donations from other organizations and businesses as well. 

Each year got bigger and better. This past Fall (2021) we distributed approximately 1,000 bags of  equipment to 40 First Nations youth and families from our storage facilities in Barrie, Whitby, Burlington and Thunder Bay. In addition to the 1,000 bags, the distribution included  over 700 sticks, 200 sets of goalie pads, 75 new helmets and 1,000 new neck guards. 

We credit numerous businesses and organizations, such as our partners at AMJ Campbell, Bristol Truck Rental and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Indigenous Sport and Wellness Ontario and many hockey associations that were on board over the past 7 years.

Our organization, Indigenous Hockey Equipment Drive (formerly known as First Nations Hockey Equipment Drive) has teamed up with a local sports charity from Oshawa, Ontario: Their Opportunity, which has assisted with planning, logistics, social media, and the online presence for the cash donations to buy new helmets and support any transportation costs. 
INCLUSION & DIVERSITY | Their Opportunity