They’re only 15-, 16- and 17-year-old hockey players, but the St. John’s Major Midget Maple Leafs are doing some pretty noteworthy and noble things away from the rink this season.
The team, under the leadership of captain Noah Parsons, and assistants Jay Henley, Aaron Greenham and Nick French, has founded Leafs Legacy, which will help players give back to a community that has supported them while fostering volunteerism and community involvement in players.
The program will involve three formal volunteer/fundraising efforts per year, and efforts will be targeted towards organizations which support disadvantaged youth, adult males and improved health.
“It’s our way,” said Parsons, a 17-year-old defenceman, “of giving back. We’ve been very fortunate and lucky to play major midget hockey, to have our parents and coaches there for support.
“We also understand there are people out there with very little support systems, so this is our way of helping give back a little bit.”
It also follows in line with the hockey team’s commitment to the overall development of young men, with a focus on both academic and athletic excellence.
The first event is currently ongoing, in line with the ‘Movember’ theme. The team is collecting razors and shaving cream at all home games at The Glacier to donate to The Gathering Place, which provides programs and services to primarily homeless people.
We’ve been very fortunate and lucky to play major midget hockey, to have our parents and coaches there for support. We also understand there are people out there with very little support systems, so this is our way of helping give back a little bit.”
St. John’s Maple Leafs captain Noah Parsons
“You don’t need razors and shaving cream, but The Gathering Place does …,” goes the theme.
In the leadup to Christmas, the players will be initiating a stocking project for Choices for Youth, whereby each player will compile two stockings filled with everything from toiletries and other essentials, to perhaps even toys, depending on the age of the recipient.
This spring, the team will again work with The Gathering Place with a “garden wakeup” program that will involve some spring cleaning.
“The goal is to help people in need,” Parsons said. “The community gives a lot to us, sometimes (from) people we don’t even know. It’s very important to give back when you can.”
The five-team major midget circuit resumes this weekend with five games. The East Coast Blizzard are in Harbour Grace 7:10 Friday night to tangle with the Tri-Pen Osprey. On Saturday (8:10 p.m.) and Sunday (10:10 a.m.), the Blizzard play host to the Central Ice Pak at the Goulds Arena, while the Leafs and Western Kings tangle Saturday (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.) and The Glacier.
The league is partnering with Veterans Affairs this weekend to do ceremonial
puck drops at each of the five games. It follows an initiative that is currently in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.