In the spring, following tryouts of our 2016-17 Atom A team, our head coach at the time, Dallyn Telford, put an idea to the parent group & the parents were on board 100%. The idea was to have the players work 40 hours over the summer doing jobs like cutting grass, piling wood, babysitting, taking out the trash, etc. and that they would get paid for their work (from parents, neighbours, etc.). The money would be pooled together to send a sick child & his/her family to a Toronto Maple Leafs game all expenses paid in a limo, hotel, etc.
The team rose to the challenge, they began working away at their hours & we began searching for the right recipient.
With the help of a local paediatrician, we were introduced to Grayson Gillespie.
Grayson was born with a heart defect & had to undergo countless life saving surgeries & eventually a heart transplant.
Our mission quickly became "The Grayson Project."
The players completed their hours, collected their monies & we sent Grayson, his mother Natalie & his father Ed in a limo to the Leafs game on Sat Nov 26 vs. the Washington Capitals. They spent the night & were picked up by the limo for their travel home.
It was an incredible experience for the Gillespie family & an unbelievable opportunity for our entire hockey team/family to share. We became friends with the Gillespie family along the journey & Grayson became an honorary Terrier.
Our story was picked up by local papers & Hockey News who featured the story on their website.
It was so incredible to teach our young players about doing selfless acts for others through the great sport of hockey & teamwork…but little did we know it didn't end there…
In the spring of 2017 I got a phone call from a person from a production company asking MANY questions about our team & what we did for Grayson.
It turns out that this person's role was to find atom aged hockey teams across Canada who had done great things in their communities & she had seen on our stories posted by the media. After many phone calls, emails, video chats with the entire team, parents & coaching staff, we found out we were selected as one of 2 teams ACROSS CANADA to compete in the Scotiabank Heroes of Hockey Day!
It's been a whip whirl since!!!
The Orillia Terriers competed in 3 team challenges against a team from Vancouver which was all filmed in August. Each episode airs on Wednesday nights on Sportsnet. We are at Episode 15 of 20! The winning team is being announced tomorrow (Episode 16) & the winners will be flying out to Corner Brook Newfoundland (all expenses paid) on Thursday to participate in the festivities of Hockey Day in Canada 2018.
All the episodes are available to view online on You Tube - Scotiabank Heroes of Hockey Day Season 2.