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Hockey Helps the Homeless raises $270K for York Region charities

December 15, 2023

Posted on: December 15th, 2023. Posted by: Joseph Quigley, Original Article.

Blue Door and 360°kids to benefit from charity pro-am hockey tournament at Magna Centre in Newmarket

UPDATE, 10:30 p.m.: Hockey Helps the Homeless confirmed that it would grant $270,000 to local beneficiaries based on funds raised.

Eighteen teams participated in the Dec. 15 Magna Centre event after weeks of fundraising. Proceeds will be going to housing charity Blue Door and youth homelessness charity 360°kids

Hockey Helps the Homeless manager of hockey operations Erik Luczak said the exact amount is being finalized but they are blown away by the total. He said the York Region event leads their events in Ontario right now.

“The homelessness issue is not going anywhere,” he said. “It’s important year over year to continue to support funding because the programs that our beneficiary partners are running in the community are making a real impact.”

Hockey Helps the Homeless runs the charity tournaments across the country annually, with the York Region version running for multiple years. Community members and organizations create teams to play, and also get to participate alongside former professional players in a day of fun on the ice.

Blue Door CEO Michael Braithwaite said the event organizers do an incredible job. He added that the dollars raised go to a great cause, with the need for housing greater than ever.

The event “is a great reminder that people really care about the most vulnerable,” he said.

A variety of different companies participated. Alair Homes Aurora Newmarket has taken part for seven years, raising approximately $14,000 this year. 

Partner Jason Barnes said the tournament is really well run.

”They make you feel like you’re an NHL superstar here,” he said. “It’s a great day of hockey.”

Theo Peckham is one of the pros taking part. The Richmond Hill native had a long professional career, including six seasons of games for the Edmonton Oilers.

“I do a lot of these,” he said. “They’re awesome for the community, they raise a ton of money, and it’s just fun. You get people out here, skating around, having fun together.”

The tournament runs all day, capping off with a reception in the afternoon.

Luczak said the dollars staying local is a big part of the event’s success.

“That’s something that I think our players and team captains and everyone feels very proud of, that they know it’s really impacting their region,” he said, adding that 360°kids and Blue Door are “the standard bearers for what it means to be impacting the homelessness issue right across York Region.”