(Valley Ball Hockey Association photo)

Langley ball hockey group rounding up equipment

A new initiative will help provide equipment for families facing financial hardship.

It can take $150 to $200 to kit out a kid for ball hockey so the Valley Ball Hockey Association is holding an equipment drive on Sunday.

“This year we’ve launched a new initiative to support less fortunate families that may have a tough time letting their kids play ball hockey due to financial restraints,” said VBHA president Craig McDougall.

The first gently used ball hockey equipment drive runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

“We have never done this type of an initiative in the past,” he said. “Every year we are asked by families who want to play if we are supported by any financial assistance programs. Our motto is “Let everyone play” and so this year we began talking about other ways we could help less fortunate families and we all have either equipment we can donate, or friends that do as well.“

The association is a non-profit with more than 1,100 members and families.

“We pride ourselves in offering an inexpensive spring sport for boys and girls between the ages of four to 19 at any skill level from beginner to advance,” McDougall said. “We also support financial assistance programs like Kid Sport and Jump Start as well and try to reach out to everyone to let them know that it doesn’t matter who you are, we can help you play ball hockey.”

The equipment drive on Jan. 21 will help those who could use a hand gearing up the kids.

“We would like to make this an annual event. The families that have been involved with our organization are some of the most helpful and thankful families I have ever known. They are always looking for ways to lend a hand and seem very happy that we launched this initiative this year,” he added.

Donations are being accepted of gear that can be reused with minimal repair. Items that are part of a set, such as knee pads, must be complete.

Accepted: Anything that is clean, usable and only gently worn out, including gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, shin guards or D-Gels, sticks, hockey pants, goalie equipment.

Not accepted: ice skates, broken sticks or malfunctioning equipment, items missing pieces or only one of a pair.

“Some equipment like gloves and elbow pads, etc.… can last for many years, so there really isn’t any limit on how old they can be,” he explained. “Items like helmets or sticks must be looked at very closely before we can consider if they are acceptable to give to someone. Helmets follow a safety standard, and sticks can crack and splinter if they have been used heavily or are really old. We will take it upon ourselves to inspect all equipment that is given before we consider offering it to a new player.”

• Learn more about the Valley Ball Hockey Association

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