The Coquitlam Express likes to call its home rink the “Palace on Poirier.”
Now the BC Hockey League team wants to ensure the street on which the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex is located has a shine worthy of its regal nickname.
The Express is volunteering to help keep Poirier Street clean of trash and litter as part of Coquitlam’s Adopt-a-Street program.
The program was implemented in 2011 as a way to engage residents, organizations and businesses to invest in their community by helping to keep it tidy of trash. Interested participants take responsibility for a one kilometre stretch of a local street with a commitment to clean it up at least once a month for a year. Their efforts are logged and special street signs at each end of their section recognize their contribution.
Express general manager Tali Campbell said the team’s involvement will help make the organization and its players “better community members.”
That’s music to the ears of Coquitlam councillor Craig Hodge, who’s also chair of the city’s sports and recreation advisory committee.
He said having the junior hockey players out along the street picking up litter “shows they’re putting down roots in the community.”
Hodge said with a lot of groups in Coquitlam still struggling to emerge from lockdowns and restrictions through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s an opportunity for some of them to reassess their role in the community and how they can help shape the city’s direction going forward.
He said the active involvement of the Express in the community is part of entrenching the team into Coquitlam’s culture.
“It’s an identity for the community.”
Campbell said players will likely be helping clean up Poirier Street two to three times a week, beginning next week.
The team’s adoption of Poirier Street is just its latest initiative to help build community. Earlier, Campbell committed players to also participate in clean-up programs at local parks and greenspaces. As well, each has also been paired with local minor hockey teams to help out with coaching.
The organization is also taking a leadership role in girls minor hockey, with Campbell now a general manager for the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association’s female development program.
Hodge said the team’s involvement as participants in various community programs sets a good example.
“It goes beyond sports,” he said. “When you’re an athlete, this is part of the job, to give back.”
The Express opens it's regular season schedule Friday (Oct. 8) in Surrey against the Eagles.