St. Louis Blues
Not only does Jay bring accolades and awards, but his unassuming character is a welcome addition to our HEROS dressing room. Sitting with the participants, tying skates and talking about their day, Jay has an approachable nature that is meaningful and inspirational to the HEROS participants.
“Coming from Switzerland, I know how hockey can make a person feel included and fit in. Sport is a great way to meet friends and what HEROS does is no different. It’s great to see that each kid has their own unique story but when they’re all together, no matter what city it is across Canada, they are all equals, they are all empowered, they are all HEROS.”
“Joining HEROS is an exciting experience for me. Hockey is my passion and I love having the chance to share that with the HEROS kids.”
Freddie joins HEROS through a family connection. In the summer of 2015, the Hamilton family (Doug and Lynn along with sons Freddie and Dougie) invited a number of HEROS participants from Toronto to join them in Niagara to participate in a on ice session. Quickly, it was obvious that this was the beginning of a great connection. Freddie, a player for the Colorado Avalanche realizes that using his skill to help young people is a way to use the game he loves to support his community.
Like his brother Freddie, Dougie Hamilton joins HEROS after an event with Toronto HEROS in his home town of Niagara, Ontario. In the summer of 2015, the Hamilton family (Doug and Lynn along with sons Freddie and Dougie) invited a number of HEROS participants to join them in Niagara to participate in a on ice session. Quickly, it was obvious that this was the beginning of a great connection, particularly because he had just signed with the Calgary Flames.
University of Lethbridge Pronghorns
Blake first became involved with HEROS as a member of the Vancouver Giants and a graduate of the Odd Squad’s Staying on Side program. In partnership with the Vancouver Police Department WHL players like Blake were educated about the life of young people living in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver and were empowered to go into the community, representing their team and speaking to young people about choices and “staying on side”. Upon being traded to the Edmonton Oil Kings during their Memorial Cup winning season (2013/14), Blake continued his involvement with HEROS. During his final WHL season in 2014/15 Blake won the Oil Kings Humanitarian award in large part for his work with HEROS. Now a CIS Student / Athlete with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, Blake continues his involvement, using his platform to inspire young people on the ice and in the classroom.
Read Blake Orban’s articles HERE.
San Jose Sharks
Joel Ward knows first-hand how hockey can be an inclusive activity for all Canadians. Both of his parents were newcomers to Canada and Joel and his brothers had the opportunity to play hockey and create a social identity through their sport. With an unconventional path to the NHL, Joel has faced the ups and downs in his pursuit of a professional career. Joel’s commitment to the sport and his dreams lead him to NHL tryouts for the Detroit Red Wings, CIS Collegiate Hockey at the University of Prince Edward Island and finally the opportunity to break into the NHL with the Minnesota Wild. Joel has expressed his admiration of fellow HEROS supporter – Willie O’Ree and joins him as a strong role model for young people as an ambassador of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program. Every day, Joel plays an active role of inspiring young people of all backgrounds to get involved in the sport.
New York Riveters
Kaleigh Fratkin is a Canadian women’s ice hockey player currently playing with the New York Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League