Apr 23, 2015
Forest Hill resident Evan Kosiner founded Skate To Great in 2012
“While winter weather is – hopefully – in the rear view mirror, Skate To Great’s skate drive season is still well underway.
The not-for-profit organization gathered at Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre on Wednesday to promote its national skate drive, urging Torontonians to drop off their used ice skates and hockey equipment.
Together with various community partners, Skate To Great will then get the gear into the hands of at-risk youth, many of whom have not had the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of getting on the ice.
Longtime Forest Hill resident Evan Kosiner founded the organization in 2012, and it has gone national, helping youngsters across the country own their first pair of skates.
“We try to pair up with good organizations so they can get skates to kids who need them,” he said. “It can be difficult to pair up the right matches because of different sizes, but we have great partners.”
Kosiner’s alma mater, Ryerson, has opened a skate drop-off at the Mattamy arena to help youngsters from downtown neighbourhoods such as Regent Park and St. James Town experience the joys of skating. The school’s Rams in Training – named for the Ryerson Rams sports teams – has benefited from Skate To Great’s work.
“The kids who come here don’t have their own hockey equipment so they rely on people like Evan and Skate To Great and the NHLPA to get everything they need,” said Ryerson Rams hockey player Suzanne Fenerty.
Skate To Great is supported by FedEx Express Canada, which transports skates free of charge to ensure they get to the kids who need them.
“Delivering the skates would be expensive, and since delivery’s what we do, this is a great opportunity for us to give back,” said FedEx Express Canada spokesperson Anne-Marie McIntosh. “(Hockey is) such an expensive thing for kids to get into, so it’s great to give them the opportunity to have equipment.”
Skate To Great has also forged a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto (BBBST). According to BBBST board member and Toronto Police Services superintendent Randy Carter, youngsters in that program have a year-end party at Mattamy arena, with Kosiner’s organization supplying many of the kids with skates.
“The City of Toronto’s 51 per cent foreign-born, so for a lot of these kids, this is their first time on the ice,” he said. “It’s great to give them what they need to try it for the first time. Even if they don’t stick with it, they can say they’ve tried the ultimate Canadian activity.”
FedEx Express Canada has also set up a skate drop-off at its downtown location at 215 Lakeshore Boulevard East, where it will collect gear until May 4.
“We’re really hoping people drop off their unused skates to help give more kids a chance to play,” Kosiner said.
For more information on Skate To Great or for information on how to drop off skates, visit www.skatetogreat.org “