Age 11, Brantford Church (Ontario Hockey Federation)
WHAT THE ASSIST FUND MEANS TO ME: ÁNGELA SANCHEZ
The Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund allowed Ángela’s son Jose to stay in the game and embrace Canada, and helped the Sanchez family settle in to its new community
When we first arrived in Canada, we wanted to be a part of this country.
In Chile, people play soccer. And here, they play hockey. We didn’t know anything about hockey prior to arriving in Canada, but we wanted our family to be a part of the community.
We have a big family – six children (four boys and two girls) – and our boys, especially Jose, fell in love with hockey shortly after we arrived. As new Canadians, we didn’t know about the game, so we purchased Jose and the boys’ first pair of skates at Value Village and took them skating on outdoor rinks.
As our sons got more involved in skating with their friends, they got asked to play in games. Eventually, we signed the oldest up to play and then the others followed to play organized hockey.
It can be tough financially for four boys to play. We asked the Brantford Community Hockey League registrar about different options available to us to help alleviate some of the cost. They shared information about the Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund, and we applied. It was such an easy process.
Having Jose’s hockey registration covered was super important to make sure we could keep the boys in the game. Without it, none of them would have been able to keep playing hockey.
Jose loves to play hockey and is very persistent until he gets a skill, and he likes to learn new tricks on the ice. He learned to skate two years after we immigrated to Canada when he was seven years old.
Now, at 11, he wants to play the game for as long as he can and has a dream of playing in the National Hockey League, but he would also love to be a doctor.
We feel it is so important for new Canadians to connect with their new country and get involved. Our family met some amazing people that showed us hockey. The community we’ve built through the game has been amazing and we feel connected to Canada.
In the beginning, it was hard. We didn’t know anything about the game or how to help Jose and our kids in the sport. But through coaches, parents and friends, we learned how to tie skates and help with their equipment needs.
The boys have friends for a lifetime just by playing hockey.This game is Canada. Being a part of the hockey community in Brantford has made Jose and us as a family more confident in Canada. We’ve found our best friends through hockey.
Jose loves the game, and without the Assist Fund he wouldn’t be able to play. We are so grateful for Hockey Canada, the Hockey Canada Foundation, the Assist Fund and the partners who have helped him keep playing the game he loves.
Scotiabank has committed $350,000 in partnership with the Hockey Diversity Alliance to the Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund. Scotiabank’s contribution directly supports BIPOC applicants, like the Sanchezes.
Applications are now being accepted for the Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund. To donate, visit HockeyCanada.ca/AssistFund.