Friend, family, fellow hockey lover:
We are a team of 13-year-old hockey kids from Etobicoke, Ontario, and we are on a mission to raise a MILLION dollars for ALS research and care in Canada. ALS is a devastating disease with no treatments or cure. It's a terminal disease that takes away peoples' ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe. With your support, we are hoping to change that, forever.
When our hockey season began in September 2021, we were devastated to learn that our favourite hockey coach, Steve Daly, had been diagnosed with ALS. During our first practice we noticed that he was struggling to speak and was slurring his words. We tried desperately to understand what he was saying, but we often couldn't make it out. By the second week, our coach had completely lost his ability to speak. It was as if the muscles in his throat just stopped working. Coach Steve has always been known for his BIG personality. He was a loud and passionate guy who made lots of noise in and out of the hockey arena. He worked us hard, but always knew how to have fun and make us laugh. So, how did the loudest guy in the room, suddenly have no voice? It just didn't make any sense.
Despite his inability to talk, Steve continued to lace up his skates and join us for practice each week, using his phone to text us our hockey instructions and assisting the other coaches on the ice. One day, about a month into the season, while demonstrating a drill, Coach Steve's legs gave way and he collapsed on the ice. We were so scared. He was taken away in an ambulance and although he seemed ok, deep down we all knew that that was the last time he would ever skate again.
Although he never did return to the ice, he was eager to resume his position on the bench, opening and closing the door while instructing us with facial expressions and hand gestures. Little did he know, he was teaching us the most valuable lesson of our lives - That when life gets hard, you never give up. He could have easily thrown in the towel at any time, but he didn't. We watched him attend every game and practice, magically working the bench in silence, each time, a small piece of him gone.
In December, Omicron had sadly brought our hockey season to a halt and on January 25, 2021, we received the news that our beloved coach had passed away. Losing someone you love during a Covid lockdown is extremely hard. We could not be there for our teammate, George, who had lost his father, we could not attend his funeral, we could not say goodbye. Our hearts were broken. But we knew we couldn't just sit there and be sad. We had to do something. After everything Coach Steve had done for us over the years, after all the hours he spent volunteering his time so that we could be better hockey players, we were determined to give back to him in some way. That's when Buck-a-Puck for ALS really came alive. It was at that moment that we decided we were going to honour our coach by raising more money for ALS than ever in history. We were going to make sure that a cure was found in our lifetime. We were going to make Coach Steve a LEGEND. When asked how much money we wanted to raise, the obvious answer was a million dollars. Minimum. People thought we were crazy and that our goal seemed impossible. But, if there's anything Coach Steve had taught us over the years, it was that with a little hard work and determination, anything was possible. He taught us, whether on the ice or when facing life's biggest challenges, to never give up.
ALS researchers believe that with enough funding, a cure for ALS is sure to be found. Taking part in our Buck-a-Puck for ALS challenge will bring us that much closer to this reality. What is Buck-a-Puck, you ask? Buck-a-Puck is a hockey themed ALS fundraiser that we created to help raise money and awareness for ALS in a fun, active and competitive way! Participants are required to shoot a hockey puck for every dollar they raise. Prizes will be given to the participants who shoot the most pucks!
If you’d like to participate in the challenge, you can register by visiting: HERE If you are unable to register, please consider making a donation to our Buck-A-Puck for ALS Challenge.
So, what are you waiting for?! If you have a love of hockey and a big heart, grab your sticks, shoot some pucks and help us achieve our million dollar goal! Let's make ALS history!