Program puts communities first

The British Columbia Hockey League has launched a new initiative called Communities First

  • Feb. 7, 2016 6:00 p.m.

The British Columbia Hockey League has launched a new initiative called Communities First, which stems from a partnership with First West Credit Union and its divisions (which includes Enderby and District Financial and Valley First).

Communities First was developed by the BCHL in partnership with First West to recognize youth leadership, while encouraging fans and players to participate in building stronger communities through volunteerism with local organizations.

“First West believes in developing strong, visionary leaders in our communities,” said Susan Byrom, senior manager of community investment at First West Credit Union.

“Volunteering in local communities is a great way for young people to not only strengthen their community, but to gain valuable experience they cannot get elsewhere. We’re proud to create these opportunities alongside the BCHL.”

BCHL players and team officials will also be encouraged to track their community hours and initiatives through a recently launched online platform called Volinspire (, introduced in December and developed by a local Okanagan tech firm in partnership with First West Credit Union.

From programs engaging students in the schools to supporting BC Food Banks through the league’s Five Hole for Food program, First West will showcase the community involvement of the BCHL’s 17 teams in British Columbia and take an active and engaged role in supporting those efforts.

“As a league dedicated to developing student athletes and supporting our communities at every level, we wanted a partner that shared our vision for promoting volunteerism and encouraging community leadership,” says BCHL senior director of partnerships and marketing Adam Less.

“We couldn’t have found a more committed partner than First West.”

The BCHL is hopeful the new First West partnership will continue to develop and help expand and strengthen the league’s volunteer efforts benefitting its communities throughout the league.