Maguire makes difference for KidSport

Maguire Nicholson, a winger/centre with the Vernon Novice Bolts, used some of his birthday money to help kids in need.

For the record, one in three Canadian kids do not play organized sport and money is the No. 1 reason. Another third play only because their parents sacrifice other things.

Maguire Nicholson, a winger/centre with the Vernon Novice Bolts, turned nine in early February, and after listening to his folks about KidSport, chose to help the program.

The BX Elementary student wanted to have a hockey party at the outdoor Centennial Arena. His dad, Cory, and mom, Christa, explained to Maguire he would need a lot of friends for two teams and that he would likely receive a lot of gifts.

“We went asking for a few dollars (from guests) so he could buy something for himself and we told him about KidSport and he wanted to give the other half to help someone play hockey,” said Cory, a former Junior B Enderby Kings defenceman. “He donated $112 to KidSport.”

Hopefully, Maguire’s act of kindness or paying it forward is kept alive by his friends and others around this wonderful, caring community.

Between registration fees, new equipment and travel expenses, hockey can be a costly sport. In fact, hockey is the second most expensive sport in Canada, making it out of reach for many Canadian families.

HockeyNow provides comprehensive coverage about all things hockey, from grassroots to major junior hockey. But most importantly,  they are committed to helping grow the game and have now partnered with KidSport.

KidSport is a national not for profit dedicated to helping kids play organized sports by providing grants for registration fees and equipment. KidSport believes that no kid should be left on the sidelines and all should be given the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of organized sports.

Thanks to their network of dedicated partners including Hyundai Auto Canada Corp., CIBC, Jays Care Foundation, Sportsnet and Sport Canada, and more than 4,000 committed volunteers, KidSport disbursed $6.3 million in grants, which impacted more than 57,000 youth in 2013 alone.

In Vernon, super volunteer Ann Holmes has been processing KidSport applications for 13 years and loves seeing kids get a boost to play.

“Last year, we spent $58,000 and helped 347 kids in a variety of sports,” said Holmes. “I’ve had kids bring me in their hockey and ball cards so it’s very rewarding.”

The process is simple and fast. You visit the website: greatervernonkidsport.ca and fill out the application.

“We get the parents to make some financial contribution so they have a vested interest,” said Holmes. “The best person to adjudicate are the school principals who know which kids will best use the help.”

We lost highly popular golf pro and natural athlete Scotty Cameron earlier this year, and instead of flowers, the family asked that donations be made, in Scott’s name, to KidSport.

Scotty would be smiling even more than usual knowing his legacy meant a life of sports for someone less fortunate. Scotty played hockey and baseball growing up, eventually excelling more on the links.

Forms are dropped off at the parks and rec offices with Doug Ross and Shayne Wright the administrators. Wright can be reached at 250-550-3671. Donations are always welcome.

Ramsey knows Miracle on Ice movie lines

Enjoyed a Game 7 post-season interview with Jack Ramsey of the Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

A Minnesota Wild draft, Ramsey was beaming after letting me know his sister, Rachel, a senior with her home state Minnesota Gophers, had earlier that day won the NCAA women’s hockey championship.

I asked Jack about his father, Mike, a former NHL stay-at-home defenceman who won Olympic gold with the 1980 Miracle on Ice Team USA. Does his father have a man cave?

“He’s got a few jerseys and memorabilia. He’s a pretty modest guy, kind of like he played the game.”

As for the Miracle on Ice movie: “I’ve seen the movie so many times, I can probably recite some of the lines. I watched the actual game on the (35th) anniversary.”

Ramsey isn’t the only Vee with a famous father since back-up goalie Brendan Barry, of Kelowna, is the son of longtime NHL power agent J.P. Barry, who represents Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and John Tavares.

Brendan is committed to the NCAA Clarkson Golden Knights for 2017. The Okanagan Major Midget Rockets’ grad went 10-2 with a 2.06 GAA in the regular season.

Penticton d-man Miles Gendron, chosen 70th overall by the Ottawa Senators last summer, has impressed Vernon-based Sens’ scout George Fargher.

“Really happy with the way Fred (Harbinson, the Vees coach-GM) has worked with him,” said Fargher. “I think he has done a real good job of bringing him along.”

Fargher watched Gendron twice in the playoffs against the Vernon Vipers and said he has stepped up his play by moving the puck better and generating more offence.

“He seems to be a little bit more involved in the play, carrying the puck out well,” said Fargher. “He is just continuing his good play from the season into the playoffs.”