Nanaimo non-profit helps Indigenous kids get into hockey
Any hockey parent will tell you that the 6 a.m. practices are the least of your worries when it comes to getting your kid on the ice.
Access to ice time and expensive gear can make playing hockey impossible. For First Nations parents and kids, the challenges can be greater.
But a group in Nanaimo, B.C., is here to help.
“It's very difficult to get our First Nations kids involved the sport of ice hockey,” says Tim Harris with the non-profit youth hockey organization called Salish Storm. “We all love the sport. It's just a difficult thing to get involved in.”
Word of the Storm travelled fast. “Nobody else is doing this,” Harris said.
Here there's no dreaded 6 a.m. start time. The community-funded group gives 40 Indigenous kids a 5 p.m. primetime slot every Wednesday in Nanaimo. It also provides instruction and all the gear they need to get going – for free.
It’s powered by volunteers like the Snuneymuxw First Nation’s Alex Nelson, who works with the goalies.
“But really the only thing I want to do is make them feel like they’re accepted,” Nelson says.