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Port Coquitlam hockey team hopes helping out will be a winning effort

Some young Port Coquitlam hockey players are pouring their energy into helping the Share Family and Community Services food bank.
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Players from the Port Cooquitlam Pirates U11 C2 team drop off some of the non-perishable food items they've been collecting for the Share Family and Community Service food bank. The team is hosting a drive-thru collection event at the Port Coquitlam community centre on Saturday, Feb. 6, froom 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

A Port Coquitlam minor hockey team is using the energy its players might otherwise be putting into games to help the community instead.

Like most young athletes this winter, the PoCo Pirates U11 C2 team has had its on-ice activities limited to practices most of the season because of public health restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, said manager Li Hua Yue. But players have been able to pull off a few online team building exercises like a virtual pumpkin carving contest before last Halloween and even a virtual run.

A chance viewing by one of the players of a commercial promoting the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup, an annual challenge for minor hockey teams across the country to help out in their communities, is now taking the young group’s bonding to the next level.

Subsequent brainstorming sessions with the team’s coach, Michael Parsons, pointed them to the Share Family and Community Services food bank, which is working to keep up with increased demand during the ongoing public health crisis.

Since the beginning of January, the team has collected more than 700 pounds of non-perishable food items for the food bank, mostly from friends, neighbours and family members. On Saturday, Feb. 6, the whole of Port Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association is supporting the U11 squad to hold a drive-thru collection in the parking lot of the city’s new community centre at 2150 Wilson Ave., from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The goal is to collect at least half a ton of canned and packaged goods and maybe even earn the $100,000 prize to further their efforts to help that comes with winning the Good Deeds Cup challenge.

Yue said the enthusiasm the young players have for their mission is boundless.

“This is a very important cause for our team,” she said. “It feels good to them.”

A parent volunteer has already put together a video to be submitted as the team’s entry to the competition, and at the Jan. 26 meeting of PoCo council, their efforts were recognized by Coun. Steve Darling and Mayor Brad West.

Yue said it’s important for the kids to appreciate that being a hockey player goes beyond just lacing on their skates and hitting the ice.

“They love coming to the rink,” she said. “But it’s also important to show kindness and to think about others in the community.”