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Constance Lake youth enjoy donated hockey gear

Thursday April 11, 2013
Youth in Constance Lake got a lot of hockey equipment as part of a skate/equipment drive organized by the local NAPS detachment. There was too much equipment for Constance Lake, so some was driven over to Aroland First Nation and distributed there.

Submitted photo by Cst. Marc Baeuparlant

The fact that winter lasted an extra few weeks was a bonus to youth in Constance Lake, who got to spend even more time enjoying their new hockey equipment on the community’s outdoor rink.

Thanks to a partnership between the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Services (NAPS) detachment in Constance Lake, an elementary school in Hearst and an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer based in Timmins, youth in Constance Lake had a detachment full of donated hockey equipment to outfit themselves in.

NAPS Cst Marc Beauparlant, who organized the hockey equipment drive for Constance Lake, said it was great to see the kids playing hockey on the outdoor rink and on streets after the equipment was distributed.

“Lots of kids want to start playing hockey, but often their families don’t have the money,” Beauparlant said. “For a full set of equipment you’re looking at $600 or more, and there are a lot of large families here.”

Beauparlant said the equipment drive was not only a way to get hockey equipment to the youth of Constance Lake, but also a chance to develop the relationship between NAPS and the community members.

“It helps to have greater interaction with the community,” Beauparlant said.

Students at Ecole St-louis in Hearst donated 12 hockey bags full of equipment as part of the drive. Also D.A.R.E Cst. Paul Harrison of the South Porcupine OPP Detachment, a former NHL goaltender with Toronto Maple Leafs, made a special trip to Toronto and returned with 11 bags of hockey equipment donated by the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

At the end of the equipment drive, the NAPS detachment in Constance Lake was full of equipment, Beauparlant said. There was more than enough for Constance Lake youth, so Beauparlant ended up driving a truck load to Aroland First Nation for youth in that community.

The equipment drive was based on a similar hockey drive Beauparlant did while working for the NAPS detachment in Marten Falls in 2010. That year, the excess equipment from the drive was shared with youth in Eabametoong First Nation.

Beauparlant said next year’s equipment drive will be even bigger, so that other communities around Constance Lake can benefit from the donated equipment as well.

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