It’s no secret that scores of young, impressionable children in and around Williams Lake have benefited from the generosity of NHL goalie Carey Price in recent years.
Since he and his father Jerry first made the donations of CCM hockey gear at the start of the 2015 hockey season in Williams Lake, organizations such as the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association, the Williams Lake KidSport chapter, the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake and District, Williams Lake Big Brothers Big Sisters as well as groups within the Tsilhqot’in Nation, the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council and Cariboo Chilcotin Tribal Council have all been able to provide free hockey gear to children thanks to the Price family.
This year, they added the non-profit charity Youth for Christ to that growing list.
“He just offered it,” said Youth for Christ executive director Corwin Smid of Carey’s dad, Jerry, who asked Smid if he could use some gear.
Smid, who is also a pastor with the Calvary Church, said he has known the Price family for years when they used to attend the church, and Carey would attend youth events when he was in town in between playing for the Tri-City Americans.
Back in those days, Smid said they would rent a bus and he and a group of youth would drive up to Prince George and cheer Price on when he played against the Cougars.
In 2005, Price was drafted fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens following his second season with the Tri-City Americans and made the Canadiens roster for the 2007-08 season.
In 2015, Carey became the first goaltender in NHL history to win the Ted Lindsay, Jennings, Vezina and Hart trophies in the same season.
To be able to play in gear to donated by a hometown hero who has reached such great success is very special, said Smid.
“For the kids, it’s pretty cool,” he said. “It’s really an honour to be the recipients of such a blessing.”
The donation to Youth for Christ included helmets, gloves, blockers, sticks, mini-sticks, pants chest protectors, and two pairs of skates each in every size and arrived in August.
Smid said all of the gear will be put to good use for the YFC’s free after-school program, which sees more than 100 children per month in grades 3 to 8 attend from 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays.
The facility has an outdoor covered artificial ice surface where the children can play, and the donation has already allowed organizers to host a mini-stick tournament and pizza night during the fall break.
“It’s amazing that an NHLer would think of our after-school program,” Smid said of the latest Price family donation. “The kids are pumped about it and they respect the gear. It means something to them because it came from Carey.”
Price can expect to have a great cheering section for him in Williams Lake when his team the Montreal Canadiens take on the Vancouver Canucks Sunday, Jan. 7 which will be aired live during the Rogers Hometown Hockey outdoor viewing party.