Skate to Great program comes to Calgary, collecting and distributing ice skates for city’s underprivileged children

Calgary Sun
Bill Kaufmann
FEBRUARY 20, 2015

Calgary

“One year after winning a silver at Sochi, figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond’s busy making sure the least likely kids slap on the blades.

The Olympian and Canadian champ made a stop in Calgary Friday to kick off a week-long effort here to collect skates for kids who’d otherwise be unable to afford them.

“We’re hoping to collect as many as we can — if we could get 1,000 pairs, it’d be fantastic,” said Osmond.

So far, the Skate to Great campaign has picked up 6,000 pairs of hockey and figure skates throughout Canada, which are then picked up and delivered to those who need them by FedEx Canada.

Joining Osmond on Friday was former Calgary Flames centre Brendan Morrison, who delivered the first Calgary pair.
Donors shouldn’t expect a beaten-up pair of skates to be accepted at the drop-off point, a mini-rink constructed at 24 Aero Dr. N.E., said Osmond.

“They should be gently-used so they’re still wearable and safe on ice,” said Osmond, adding most skates donated so far in the rest of the country have been freshly-sharpened.

FedEx came on board with the hope of bringing the joys of skating and hockey to those in position to purchase the often pricey equipment, said company spokesman Ken Ralph.

“Skating can be pretty expensive and this kind of removes the barrier,” said Ralph, senior operations manager for FedEx Express.

“It’s not cheap, especially when you add it to hockey gear that you can spend $1,000 on.”

Skates collected in the Feb. 20-27 drive will go to underprivileged kids in the Calgary area, he added.

“It’s been really successful…hopefully, we’ll see some results here in Calgary,” said Ralph.

Last year, FedEx picked up about 30 pairs of skates for underprivileged kids collected at a Flames home game, he said.”