I usually keep pretty good tabs on all the hockey news out there. And I also have an interest in how hockey can have various philanthropic and socioeconomic benefits at all levels.
So it shocked me when I learned about the World Cup of Hockey Legacy Project, the latest in a series of Legacy Projects by the National Hockey League and it's partners.
Usually the NHL media machine is a little more in-your-face with such good news stories. I'm sure they are in the local markets that benefit from these efforts, but being removed from such markets it was all unbeknownst to me.
NHL Legacy Projects are designed to leave a lasting effect on the city where the NHL hosts special events. They do this for All Star games, Winter Classics, Stadium Series games and so forth.
We're not just talking about fixing up a local rink or dropping off some sets of sticks for kids here.
The World Cup of Hockey project focuses on improving the education health of Toronto's youth. They, along with the NHLPA, MLSE Foundation and Hockey Canada, are transforming a vacant 42000 square foot facility in Toronto's Moss Park neighborhood to house sporting courts, classrooms, office spaces, a nutrition hub, and multipurpose atrium.
Hockey-centric programs will be heavily featured here, of course. And this is the type of neighborhood where these parties do need to make a difference. 42 per cent of the neighborhood population are new Canadians, with Chinese and Filipinos making the bulk of that number. They will be introduced to hockey and Canadian culture at what is being dubbed MLSE LaunchPad. Perhaps they will embrace our game as a participant or as a spectator as they have embraced our country.
Hockey isn't the only focus, and not even the ultimate goal here. Promoting healthy minds and bodies through sports while integrating life skills programs is ultimately more important. After all, hockey is a game that unites us all and teaches lifelong lessons such as goal setting, teamwork and sportsmanship.
It is wonderful to see the NHL, the NHLPA and the various business partners seeking ways to contribute to their communities. We need more stories like this.