By Lucy Juneau
Tis’ the season for generosity and the Carleton University Raven’s men hockey team is in full spirit.
The goalies on the team are saving more than just goals – they’re stopping pucks and turning them into bucks. Three players from the varsity team created Saves 4 Toys, a fundraising initiative to buy holiday gifts for children at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).
Matthew Jenkins, Francois Brassard and Justin Nichols, the goalies, saved 123 goals over the course of their last four games of the semester, meaning each goalie will donate $123. In addition, they created a GoFundMe page and received $1,095 in donations for a grand total of $1,464 raised to buy toys for the children.
“We’re trying to spread some smiles,” said Brassard. “We have a pretty great life. We get to go to university and to play hockey, so it’s important to give back to the community. It’s also a lot of fun.”
Justin Nichols came up with the idea to set an example at Carleton to show the hockey team supports community involvement.
“Growing up playing competitive hockey, you’re always involved in the community and we felt this onus to be role models,” said Nichols. “Becoming men and student athletes, that shouldn’t stop. We want to show the community we care and can make a difference. We want to show the kids we care about them.”
The three are eager to increase the team’s charitable work and want to give back as much as they can. They believe varsity athletes should take a leadership role and take responsibility, showing people how simple it is to have a positive impact.
“It’s easy to sit back and look the other way,” said Jenkins. “Even if you don’t have money to donate, sharing a project on Facebook helps spread the message. It’s great to see the shares we have on social media for this project and that people are supporting us.”
With the help of social media, the three are working to expand Saves 4 Toys and make it an annual team fundraiser. Next year, they’re hoping to raise even more with support from the rest of the team.