The Newmarket-area hockey community has completed another successful drive to collect winter clothing for people in need.
The Hockey 4 Community drive saw eight local hockey associations participating in the initiative, which was originally launched by Jackie Tranter, director of community relations on the York Simcoe Express board.
About 10 years ago, her family and friends started collecting winter coats and other items for homeless individuals in downtown Toronto.
“When our son joined York Simcoe Express hockey association, then I just started asking people about (making) donations,” Tranter said. "So we started doing that and collecting winter gear for Belinda’s Place, York Hills, Blue Door. We’ve done that the last three or four years.”
Through their past drives, York Simcoe Express has donated more than 1,400 items of winter clothing to the community.
For this year’s drive, they partnered with Newmarket Renegades, Aurora Tigers, East Gwillimbury Eagles, Schomberg Minor Hockey, Georgina Blaze, Bradford Bulldogs and the Central York Girls Hockey Club.
Throughout September, they accepted donations at bins in locations including the Magna Centre in Newmarket.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, players and parents volunteered to sort through the hundreds of items.
“We collected over 328 winter coats, 29 snow pants, over 200 toques and mitts, 54 pairs of winter boots and 41 pairs of running shoes,” Tranter said.
The clothing was then distributed to various organizations in York Region, including Coats for Kids, Blue Door, Inn From the Cold and Belinda's Place.
The eight hockey associations that participated in this initiative also took part in the 1st Nations Hockey Drive, which saw hundreds of bags of hockey equipment collected for kids in First Nations communities last month.Editor's Note, Oct. 26, 2021: The featured photograph supplied by Blue Door was altered at its request to remove an individual who did not consent to it being published.