Three-day women’s hockey tourney to support youth

Grindstone Award Foundation is taking registrations for a women’s hockey jamboree in West Kelowna

The Grindstone Award Foundation is offering a three-day women’s hockey jamboree aimed to raise funds for female hockey players in need.

“Your support means you will have an impact on the lives of young female hockey players through fulfilling our mission to support and address the needs of female players who have the desire to play, but are unable to for financial reasons,” said Danielle Grundy, co-founder of the Grindstone Award Foundation.

Grundy, who directly credits a lifetime of playing hockey for her personal successes, said her parents had to put a second mortgage on their house to keep her in the sport when she was young.

“I didn’t realize that as a kid, all the struggles they were going through. They wanted me to stay on my hockey path and it was such an important part of my life and who I am today, it was because of hockey,” she said.

At the age of 16 she had multiple schools offering her post-secondary scholarships, eventually choosing to play for Dartmouth Big Green in the NCAA. After graduating she played professional hockey in Switzerland.

Wanting all kids to have the chance to not only build skills on the ice but off them, inspired Grundy to create the Grindstone Award Foundation. The foundation provides grants to female players across Canada, who are under the age of 19 and have expressed a desire to pursue their goal in athletics. Selection is based on financial need and desire, not on hockey ability.

“I want to help kids that were like me, to give them a chance. They don’t need to go on and play for the national team to have hockey affect them in a positive way. Hockey has so many benefits beyond your playing years. I just want to give female players a leg up,” said Grundy, who is co-founder of the foundation with Sasha Podolchak.

It is exactly what it already has done for two Kelowna. B.C. families. Tina Hoek said they applied for the bursary last year and received funding to help keep her now 12 year old daughter in the sport. This season they again worked with the Grindstone Award Foundation to get her equipment.

“We are on a single income, so if we didn’t receive the help it most likely would mean she wouldn’t have played, so we are very grateful,” said Hoek.

Not only was it a financial burden lifted for the family, Hoek said she has seen growth in her daughter that only happened because she was involved in hockey.

“It really is priceless,” said Hoek of the change she has seen in her daughter. “Her self-esteem and confidence has just grown so much and I really don’t think that would have happened if she wasn’t playing hockey. She has bonded with her hockey friends and has that common thread with them at school. She was shy before and now has this connection with her teammates and friends she met through the sport. I am just so happy she found something she loves and feels good doing it. The Grindstone bursary has been just unbelievable for their help in keeping my daughter playing.”

Earlier this year the foundation filmed a segment for Chevy’s Power of Play on Hockey Night in Canada, which aired recently on Sportsnet. Now established as a registered charity, they have partnered with Sport Chek to host the three-day jamboree. The goal is to raise $5,000 so 10 female youth hockey players can be provided support for the upcoming season.

“I want to incorporate fun stuff that you never see at a traditional camp or tournament. We hope to have a skills competition with some great prizes and then play jamboree style, where you register as an individual and mix up the teams. We are also hoping to incorporate an event we have held for several years bringing in young girls that want to try hockey and let them do that for free. We want it to be the ultimate female hockey weekend, a place where female adults can play and have their kids watch mom play and maybe give it a try too,” said Grundy.

The jamboree-style event takes place July 21 to 23 at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna, B.C. Cost to register is $80. Participants sign up as individuals, or can ask to play with up to four players, and then will be placed onto teams of all ages and abilities.

Eight equal strength teams will be created with each team playing four games — one on Friday (July 21) night, two on Saturday and on Sunday morning. Midday on Saturday there is a skills competition sponsored by Sport Chek. The Exchange in Kelowna is hosting a pub night fundraiser on Saturday, July 22 with a silent auction.

Space is limited, open to the first 104 players only. Additional players will be put on the wait list.

For more about the foundation, or to register for the jamboree, visit www.GrindstoneAward.com.