A spontaneous effort to gather used sporting equipment in Yellowknife will almost surely give a huge boost to efforts recreational department growth in the hamlet of Tulita this year.
Tim Morton, a Yellowknife Minor Hockey Association director of league programs, received a donation of hockey equipment from businessman Dan Hayward last month. Morton had put a notice up on Facebook to residents stating that there was a lot of equipment to disperse to residents. Equipment was sized and catalogued and went to many youth and adults.
“I did my best donating that around town but in the process I was contacted by the recreation co-ordinator in Tulita (Matt Cybulski,) who said that he would take any extra gear left from off our hands.”
After the two discussed it in further detail, Morton said he had a good feeling that he could not only get people to donate hockey gear but also acquire gear from multiple other sports like baseball, speed skating, figure skating or tee-ball. Morton said it isn’t rare for Yellowknifers to be giving away equipment on Facebook or YK Trader.
He reached out to his Yellowknife Minor Hockey Association Facebook group to ask for any sport gear not being used – things like old skates or shoulder pads or soccer pads or broomball equipment.
“What happened was we had a fantastic response and I was getting contacted from parents about situations where kids were not playing sports anymore or they had whole bags of hockey gear or items from figure skating like skates,” he said.
“In about two weeks I was full and I got to my limit. I would have accepted more but I was running out of room at garage and running out of time from running around town.”
Morton spent a lot of time sorting items and organizing it with his son Austin before letting Cybulski know what was available.
Initially Morton was worried that he collected too much but it turns out that the demand from the community has been insatiable.
Cybulski said that the community is very grateful from the goods that are on their way explaining that the recreation department is “basically in building mode” to ensure that there is a variety of sports available for residents.
“It is invaluable of what this means to us,” Cybulski said. “We are on the forefront of getting our recreation programming going.
“There is not much infrastructure so to have this come our way is a game changer. We are in the process of transitioning our minor hockey program into a full fledged to minor hockey association and this gives us a leg up.”
Morton said it is hard to quantify how much sporting equipment he had, but he said he was able to fill two pellets of equipment for a planned shipment on Monday via Summit Air.
Cybulski said from what he saw, there was roughly between $5,000 to $7,500 worth of equipment depending on the condition of the gear. He said he has up to roughly 48 athletes including hockey and baseball, as well as other sports that are in development like speed skating and figure skating.
Once the equipment is received, Cybulski said he expects to make an announcement in the community for fittings and have gear dispersed to residents by the time the Tulita hockey season begins in late November or early December.
Morton sent out a thank you notice through the association’s Facebook page noting that about 20 people contributed to the quick turnaround of equipment donations. He hopes to make a similar effort in the future to help people who may be short of equipment.