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Hockey gear donation from WestJet to Mikinakoos Children’s Fund helps increase access to sport for First Nations youth

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Sandy Lake youth participate in hockey training camp with Mikinakoos Children’s Fund in 2022. – Photos supplied

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO (January 15, 2024) – Mikinakoos Children’s Fund is pleased to announce a substantial donation from Canadian airline WestJet, directly benefiting youth in the remote First Nation community of Slate Falls in northwestern Ontario. This remarkable contribution, exceeding 3,200 pounds of hockey equipment, equivalent to approximately 100 bags of gear, serves as a significant follow-up to WestJet’s donation of 700 pounds of hockey equipment to Mikinakoos in 2022.

“Sports play a vital role in shaping crucial life skills during childhood and we are grateful to be working together with Mikinakoos Children’s Fund on this incredibly impactful initiative which will serve to remove barriers and create pathways to success and opportunities for growth,” said Clifford Comber, Manager of Materials, Eastern Canada at WestJet. “Our gratitude extends to our valued community partners who share our core values of compassion and community, collaborating with us to bridge critical gaps that impact the lives of young athletes.”

Hockey gear from WestJet donation being received by Slate Falls.

Several teams contributed equipment, including the Oakville Hornets from the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association; Mississauga Senators from the Greater Toronto Hockey League, and the Oakville Rangers and Milton Winterhawks from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. Purolator and WestJet also generously supported by covering the packaging and shipping costs, and North Star Air, a close partner of Mikinakoos Children’s Fund, ensured the equipment’s swift journey from Thunder Bay to Slate Falls.

The collected equipment, including player and goalie gear, is helping address the immediate physical needs of young athletes in Slate Falls through a community partnership with Mikinakoos Children’s Fund. Overall, this initiative responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action 89 to reduce barriers to sports participation and increase the pursuit of excellence in sport.

Slate Falls, a fly-in-only community, lacks access to essential means for full engagement in the game. Mikinakoos Children’s Fund has been diligently working to bridge this gap, ensuring equal opportunities for First Nations youth.

“Contributions like those facilitated by WestJet are instrumental in enhancing the quality of life for First Nations children in our partner communities, providing essential tools and opportunities for them to pursue their passion for hockey and sports,” said Mikinakoos Executive Director, Emily Shandruk. “We’re grateful for this collective generosity, which enriches the experiences and opportunities of young First Nations athletes.”

About Mikinakoos Children’s Fund:

Mikinakoos Children’s Fund is a charity created to address poverty by providing basic amenities, such as food, clothing, and shelter to First Nations children residing in remote communities. Join us on this journey to create positive change and secure the safety and wellbeing First Nations children. Engage with Mikinakoos Children’s Fund on social through #FirstNationKidsFirst.

About WestJet:

In 27 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 26 countries. 

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Media contact:

Victoria Belton
Senior Consultant, Media Profile
Victoria.Belton@mediaprofile.com
416-997-5179

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