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Off ice, team generates warmth

The Woolwich Wild Midget B team is raising money for the Ray of Hope Community Centre by participating in Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 20.
The Woolwich Wild Midget B team is raising money for Ray of Hope and will be participating in Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 20. Back row: Steve Hanley, Rodney Weber, Greg Kaufman, Jen Hea. Third row: Jen Mitchell, Steph Benninger, Taylor Duench, Morgan Douglas, Jessica Bitton, Abby Hanley, Abigayle Ziegler, Abigael Martin. Second row: Gracie Durrer, Jaycee Kaufman, Ciara Hea, Briana Kuchma, Leah Bauman, Tori Weber. Front row: Autumn Campbell, Hannah Bettke. [Submitted]
The Woolwich Wild Midget B team is raising money for the Ray of Hope Community Centre by participating in Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 20.
The Woolwich Wild Midget B team is raising money for Ray of Hope and will be participating in Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 20. Back row: Steve Hanley, Rodney Weber, Greg Kaufman, Jen Hea. Third row: Jen Mitchell, Steph Benninger, Taylor Duench, Morgan Douglas, Jessica Bitton, Abby Hanley, Abigayle Ziegler, Abigael Martin. Second row: Gracie Durrer, Jaycee Kaufman, Ciara Hea, Briana Kuchma, Leah Bauman, Tori Weber. Front row: Autumn Campbell, Hannah Bettke. [Submitted]
A local hockey team is showing they’re interested in more than putting pucks in the net.

The Woolwich Wild Midget B team is raising money for the Ray of Hope Community Centre by participating in Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 20.

“Usually we do a Secret Santa where we exchange gifts and have a big dinner as a team. This year we got talking and we thought it would be a cool idea instead of investing money in that, to raise money and give it to a cause,” said team captain Abigael Martin.

Martin has a family friend involved with Ray of Hope and her family’s participated in the Coldest Night of the Year in the past few years, so she brought the idea forward to the team, along with some other organizations. She said the team chose Coldest Night of the Year because they’ll not only be able to raise money for a great cause, but have the opportunity to get involved with the organization by walking at the event.

On the night of the event teams will walk either 2-, 5-, or 10-km routes.

“It’s a cool opportunity to see what it’s really like and not just put the money into a fundraiser, but really get out there and experience it and just be a part of it. It puts a lot of things into perspective and you see the opportunity  to really know what you’re putting money towards and to know what you’re really involved in,” Martin said.

So far they’ve raised $565 of their $1,500 goal. Ray of Hope’s ultimate goal is $140,000 and some 65 groups have gathered $31,618 of that so far, with the Woolwich Wild Midget B team in 15th place.

“We’re doing things over social media, so things like Facebook and emailing and then Brooks Campbell, the manager of our team, has put something on the hockey webpage. A few ways we can fundraise through that is there’s actually a website that Coldest Night of the Year runs. Through our emails and things like that we post a link and it takes you to our hockey team’s webpage and people can donate through that,” she said.

Martin says a big part of the roles of the captain and assistant captains this year has been to put together activities for the squad to do to bond and to get to know each other better, especially since there are a few new people on the team this year.

“I think there’s so much that we can do for ourselves as a team, but to be able to do something as a team for others and to be able not only to build a relationship with each other based off of hockey, but to build it off of things we can do for others has been really cool to see. Also it’s kind of cool to see a group of kids my age and older and younger get together and see a need and be able to put our hand forward and try to fulfill it.”

And coming together as a group outside of hockey will help their on-ice play, she notes, saying even your passes can get on point more and you get a better sense of where each other will be.

“Getting to know each other off the ice gives you a better connection and a better familiarity with one another and almost creates a more positive vibe as you play and an encouraging environment and a greater trust with one another on the ice,” Martin said.

She encourages people to look into Ray of Hope and the services they provide to Waterloo Region. People who are homeless or living in poverty can go to Ray of Hope for meals, food hampers, warm showers, and the list goes on.

“That’s one of the big things we’re trying to do too is not just to raise money as a team but to raise awareness. A big part of doing the walk and posting pictures on Facebook that night will get people and perk their interest and see we’re not just a hockey team. Life’s more than what we can do on the ice. It’s more than just our relationships on the ice, but what we can off the ice and what we can do as a community,” Martin said.

To donate, visit www.coldestnightoftheyear.org and search “Woolwich,” or you can find the link at www.woolwichwild.com.

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