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Quinte Children’s Homes Helps Make Hockey More Accessible to Youth

Hockey is as Canadian as maple syrup. But Canada’s favourite pastime is also an expensive sport for kids. That’s why Quinte Children’s Homes sponsors the Belleville Jr. Bulls Peewee Select Team.

“Many of us grew up playing hockey and we think it’s an excellent way for kids to stay healthy, develop friendships and community spirit and learn to work as a team,” says Stevenson, Waplak & Associates Executive Director Terry Stevenson. “However, hockey is very expensive. Our support for the Belleville Jr. Bulls Peewee Select Team helps offset the costs of ice time, referees, jerseys and travel. Reducing these costs for the team helps to reduce the costs for families.”

Retired professional ice hockey player Randy Rowe is a parent therapist for Quinte Children’s Homes. The Burford native played with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls for four seasons before moving onto the ECHL, where he became just the seventh player in league history to play over 600 games. He now shares his passion for hockey with local youth.

“Hockey allows kids from all different backgrounds to come together and be accepted into another type of family that is formed within a hockey team,” he says. “It provides youth with a sense of accomplishment and motivation and hopefully keeps them on the right path, as they have their coaches and teammates to be accountable to. It also provides opportunities for personal growth as well as learning leadership and team-building skills.”

Along with his partner Kim, Randy fosters three children, including a 16-year-old son who played his first year of hockey this year. “It has provided him with a sense of accomplishment and has improved his self-confidence as he continues to improve his skills game after game,” says Randy. “It also provides him with an outlet to de-stress and be involved in something positive with his peers. We have also seen hockey be a motivator for him to become more physically fit and make healthy life choices. Every weekend we are in an arena, spending quality family time together.”

The Quinte Children’s Homes Belleville Jr. Bulls Peewee Select Team is made up of players selected from the house league to play against others from the house leagues in other towns and cities. “It gives these kids a chance to play in a more competitive environment,” says Stevenson, who is himself a trainer for a peewee house league team. “They have a well-trained coach and assistants, which aids in the further development of their skills.”

Stevenson says there are countless benefits, both physical and mental, to getting youth involved in hockey. “As with all sports, hockey helps to keep kids in shape, improving muscle and bone development, as well as having cardiovascular benefits. In short, it’s very healthy for them. As a team sport, hockey helps to develop team spirit, emphasizing good sportsmanship, friendly competition and teamwork.”

Follow the team on Facebook to see their progress.