A young player tried a helmet on for size at the first “Giving Back to the Community” equipment exchange by the Valley Ball Hockey Association last year in Langley. Organizers are hoping to double the number of kids who benefit this year. Black Press file photo

Recycling old hockey gear for new players in Langley

Second annual “Giving Back to the Community” drive is underway

A Langley campaign to recycle used ball hockey equipment was the result of a conversation about kids outgrowing their ball hockey gear, and how the old equipment ends up forgotten when it could be re-used to help other kids take up the sport.

Valley Ball Hockey Association president Craig McDougall said he was talking with VBHA vice-president Kevin Hugel about two years ago when they realized there was an untapped resource for new players who otherwise would have to shell out up to $150 for gear.

“Kids outgrow their equipment and it ends up in the garage,” McDougall said.

About 100 kids benefited last year when the VBHA arranged its first “Giving Back to the Community” drive that took in used hockey equipment in Langley, then gave it out for free to any child who needed or wanted it.

McDougall recalled the “ear-to-ear grins” on the face of children last year when they heard they could pick out what they wanted from the free table when they signed up to play.

READ MORE: Gear swap in Langley helps make ball hockey more accessible for kids

This year, the association will do it again, and they hope to have more to give away.

“We’re trying to at least double [last year],” McDougall said.

Distribution will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, January 13th, during in-person player registration by the VBHA at the George Preston Arena at 20699 42 Ave.

Anyone with “gently used” equipment can drop it off before the weekend at 4506 204A Street.

If no one is home, “you can leave it by the front door in a bag with your name on it so we can send our thanks,” McDougall said.

By gently used, the association means equipment that can be reused with minimal repair.

“If you’ve got a helmet with a crack down the back, we won’t donate it,” McDougall said.

“We want to make sure the equipment can be used for another season.”

Acceptable equipment is anything that is clean, usable and only gently worn out.

That includes gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, shin guards or D-Gels, sticks, hockey pants, and goalie equipment.

“Bring it by, we’ll take a look at it,” McDougall said.

What they can’t accept are ice skates, broken sticks or malfunctioning equipment, items missing pieces or only one of a pair.

“We will be at George Preston Arena collecting any and all donations, and offering these same donations out to families who might just need that one item they don’t have,” McDougall said.

“We’re asking anyone in the community who has any ball hockey equipment they no longer use, to please take 10 minutes out of your day and stop by to drop off anything you have, and support your own community.”

He said the VBHA would like to give every child the opportunity to play ball hockey and “if something as simple as ‘we don’t have a pair of gloves’ is stopping you, come and see what we have. “

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