The Ottawa Citizen illustrates how Share the Puck is a new program launched by the Ollson Sports Group (OSG), an organization that runs hockey camps across Canada and the United States. The goal of the program is to provide children from lower-income households a chance to play hockey.
“Hockey is one of the most expensive sports to play,” said John Ollson, the director of the OSG and co-founder of the Share the Puck program. “The equipment is expensive, renting ice time costs a fortune, and then there are registration fees. It all adds up quickly.”
It didn’t sit well with Ollson, who played on the Ottawa 67s from 1980 to 1983, that many new Canadians could not afford to play hockey, or even have an opportunity to try playing it.
That’s when Ollson and his OSG co-worker Bryan Hetherington decided to launch the Share the Puck program.
“We want to get people who haven’t played hockey before interested in Canada’s game,” said Ollson.
Share the Puck will offer three different levels of programming. This will includes several basic “come-and-try” sessions as well as weeklong hockey camps. There are even five spots being offered for children wanting to play a full season of hockey that would be completely subsidized by the OSG.
July 30 marked the start of Share the Puck’s “come and try” sessions at the Minto Skating Centre. From Monday to Thursday, the program teamed up with various local organizations to give more than 100 kids the opportunity to try playing hockey.
On Wednesday, members from the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) participated in the Share the Puck program.
“Sports help newcomers grow companionship, develop friendships and learn about teamwork and leadership,” said OCISO youth program co-ordinator Nabilah Chowdhury. “This is a great opportunity for them.”
“Kids in Canada just want to be on the ice or play road hockey in the street,” said Share the Puck on-ice coach Brock Gibson. “This is a great way to get kids involved in the community and integrate them with their new surroundings.”