Three Stars Presented by Lawrie Insurance Group
Harold and Karen have been running the Bruce Lee House League in Madoc, Ontario, since 1990. We caught up with them to learn more about their amazing program and how they got involved in the #HockeyVacciNation campaign. Congratulations, Harold and Karen!
VOTE FOR HAROLD AND KAREN! – Ends Friday, September 24
Answers edited for length and clarity
Who nominated you for the #HockeyVacciNation campaign?
Brad Watson, the Arena Manager at Madoc Arena, submitted a nomination on our behalf.
We were delighted to learn of the Bruce Lee House League and the over 30 years you have been involved with it! Can you tell us more about the league and how it benefits your community?
The Bruce Lee House League has been around for 31 years and provides recreational hockey at an affordable cost. Hundreds of children have participated over the years and many who have been through the program come back as referees to get volunteer hours for school. There are children whose parents have been through the program and even some grandfathers coaching their grandchildren. It’s all volunteer-based and supported through the community.
Teams play one game a week, on weekdays only. It costs $65 for a 14-week season and if there are multiple children from a family participating, the family is only charged for two kids. Typically have 120 to 150 players each year, with the most registered in a season at 203, and open to anyone 3 to 15 years of age. Some families come from as far as one hour away to participate since it’s the only program of its kind around. The Bruce Lee House League encourages participation, so you’ll see programming like once a player scores two goals, they must keep the puck moving and can’t score again that game.
“It’s unbelievable how they grow over the years,” said Karen. “The coaches are really good and grasp the concept of the program.”
An equipment exchange is also offered, so when children outgrow their old equipment they bring it in and goes out for no fee
Their motto – “Start your hockey career by having fun!”
How has COVID-19 impacted your programming?
This year, 93 children participated. It was the first year where at least a third of the kids could not afford the registration fee and because of the support from the community, they were able to cover the cost.
Kids were grouped by age and team sizes were decreased with only 22 people allowed on the ice at once (a drop from 16-18 players per team in a typical year). There were adjustments to game times and how the games ran to follow safety protocols. No referees were on the ice and so it was called ‘go-go hockey’. They’d throw the puck out after a goal and when the buzzer went off, players would change on the fly and away they go. It was very well received.
The League ends at the start of March Break so were able to get in a successful full season!
To fundraise for the program, a Bash for Cash is held at the local Kiwanis Club. The dance wasn’t able to happen for two years, nor could the skate-a-thon take place during the hunting season where the kids help raise money. With both being cancelled, the community provided tremendous support.
How will the $500 donation be used?
It will give us a good start-up for our upcoming season and enough to run our skills program. It’s a 3-week program that costs $20 but since there may be some availability of ice time earlier this year, we can start the program before the season starts (which is before hunting season). This allows the kids to get on the ice earlier and give the younger ages a chance to get familiar with the ice.
What does it mean for you to be a finalist for the $10,000 grand prize?
It’s so exciting! It really means a lot to us and it’s a great way to support our community.