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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Nepean Nighthawks run barrier-free hockey program for Indigenous youth

Nepean Nighthawks Stick Collectively program seeking to proceed success into the longer term

The success of a group sport program is commonly laborious to evaluate from a distance. Do you measure attendees, income, abilities realized, laughs heard? In line with Halley Chopra, program coordinator for Nepean Nighthawks’ Stick Collectively program, the true measure of success might be retainment, longevity and whether or not the youngsters give again sooner or later.

Initially, nonetheless, Chopra, who can also be the President of Nepean Nighthawks FHC, is overjoyed with their work providing barrier-free hockey to Indigenous youth.


The Nepean Nighthawks are extending their barrier-free programming into the summer season months of 2023. CBC Radio reported a narrative about this system. LISTEN TO THE CBC REPORT HERE.

The Stick Collectively program began in January and provided free Saturday newbie indoor hockey applications to Indigenous youth. The registrants joined the prevailing newbie workshops each Saturday for hockey instruction, culminating in event in March.

This system included simple registration, free transportation, and gear for the periods. In line with Chopra, program coordinator, the objective was to cut back obstacles as a lot as potential. And with that, she looks like they reached a group in want of entry to sport.

“The suggestions from the dad and mom and group was so nice. I heard from dad and mom that stated their youngsters would by no means have had the prospect to take part on this, not to mention even had entry to trainers,” Chopra stated. “In order that was a sign to me that applications like this are wanted.”

The Stick Collectively members joined Nepean Nighthawks newbie indoor periods each Saturday from January to March. Pictures/Offered.

The fruits of this system was a event referred to as the Frosty Cup, an annual mixer event that’s open to all ability ranges and ages within the membership. Chopra stated this was an thrilling occasion and an opportunity for the members to see completely different ranges of hockey.

“Our membership works finest when it’s a tight-knit group, versus teams working in silos. We wish to have membership occasions so everybody can see how they match into the group,” she stated. “For the Frosty Cup, we ask all of the groups to all come collectively and blend in. We’ve got a abilities competitors and scrimmages. It’s particularly good for the rookies attending to see the extra skilled folks passing and taking part in. It’s a very good strategy to combine the [Stick Together participants] into the broader group.”

Chopra stated that the combination with the opposite rookies and with the membership as an entire is a essential piece to creating everybody really feel welcomed and included in sport.

“When the youngsters be part of this program and be taught subject hockey, they’re a Nighthawk,” she stated. “The Stick Collectively Program is a gateway to get registered, barrier-free, it will get them within the door, then they’ve the chance to proceed.”

Chopra and her household have been lengthy standing members of the game and hockey group within the Ottawa space. Way back to she will be able to keep in mind, her dad and mom have been concerned within the administrative facet of the sport. That familial connection to sport group has led Chopra down this path to supporting group sport programming.

The Chopra household together with the Nepean Nighthawks membership is spearheading the creation of a brand new subject hockey facility within the Ottawa space, referred to as the Subject Hockey Centre. In line with Chopra, with that creation comes extra subject entry and much more alternative for Indigenous youth, newcomers to Canada and different in-need communities to entry sport.

“With a view to maintain this program going and to develop it, we’ll want a move of cash. We perceive authorities funding comes and goes, so we’re going to work laborious to search out different companions to ensure we are able to proceed to supply applications like this,” she stated. “We’ve got partnered with a neighborhood tech firm that has dedicated to serving to with this program. It’s an instance of reaching out to group companions to maintain that move going.”

Chopra and the Nighthawk membership felt that the preliminary pilot of the Stick Collectively program was successful. A number of of the attendees have already registered for the summer season leagues and Chopra stated they’ll actually know for certain when these youngsters are sufficiently old to start out teaching locally.  For now, they’re wanting ahead to persevering with to supply accessible programming to underserved communities within the Ottawa space.

The Stick Collectively grant helps the creation or persevering with progress of initiatives that particularly goal these equity-deserving teams. Anybody venture can obtain as much as a most of $15,000 (relying on the whole variety of ultimate candidates) to a complete quantity of $65,000 might be disbursed in yr certainly one of Stick Collectively.

Subject Hockey Canada publicizes Stick Collectively CSAI

Within the fall of 2022, Subject Hockey Canada, along side Canada Sport for All (CSAI), launched the Stick Collectively initiative. The Stick Collectively venture seeks to take away obstacles and enhance sport participation charges for underrepresented teams in subject hockey. Fairness-deserving teams embrace Indigenous peoples, Individuals of Color, 2SLGBTQQIA+, folks with low revenue and newcomers. The aim of Stick Collectively is straightforward: to extend participation and retention in subject hockey.

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