Tuesday afternoon Junior Senators hockey game offers hope and help to Heron Gate neighborhood

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While talking to Paul Howard, a young advocate from Heron Gate in Ottawa, a low-income neighborhood, Jamie Mayo had an idea.

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The general manager/associate coach of the Ottawa Junior Senators hockey team wanted to find a way to help families in need. And Arena 1 at the Jim Durrell Sports Complex on Walkley Rd. was the place to do it. The Jr. Senators, who play in the Central Canada Hockey League, have a home game Tuesday (March 15) at 2:30 p.m. against Cornwall.

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“I looked at Paul’s posts on Twitter,” Mayo said. “I see him standing up for the people. I didn’t think we sometimes did enough to help our own community. I was talking to Paul and I said, ‘Why don’t we see this as a way to help families?’ They are being hit hard by gas prices, food prices – the cost of everything is exorbitant. It is an economically disadvantaged part of the city. We really felt that a lot of families could benefit from it.

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“Normally we wouldn’t play a game in the afternoon. But because we lost so many games in December and January (the league was closed due to the pandemic), we had to reschedule. »

Thus, the community game Heron Gate was born, played one afternoon during March Break.

“This is an incredible opportunity that the players and staff are looking forward to,” said Junior Senators captain Thomas Freel. “The Heron Gate community could use an elevation due to COVID and high commodity prices these days and hopefully at the same time we can entertain them with a great afternoon of hockey.”

Mayo was out on Wednesday to distribute free tickets to area elementary schools. Additionally, he reached out to friends who run businesses and offered donations and gift cards to pass on to people in need. In total, more than $2,000 has already been raised. The team hopes for more (if anyone wants to help, contact Mayo at (613) 295-8020 or email him at jpmayo70@gmail.com).

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“I asked friends who own businesses down south if they could help out,” Mayo said. “Getting cash is great, but I asked them to give me gift cards – Food Basics, Metro – we were just looking for a way to help and the response has been absolutely amazing. I hope we will be able to send a group of children home with gift cards for their families and help the community where we play.

“As I was dropping off the tickets, I met some of the directors and could see how excited they were, how much they valued their children – that an organization would do anything possible to help the children and their families.”

There is also the possibility of enticing children to come and watch a junior hockey game to spark their interest in something new; maybe some will want to learn how to play.

“People can walk to the arena – there are lots of apartments and public housing near here – and watch the game,” Mayo said. “There are a lot of children living in the neighborhood. And if we can get any kid to dress up and play hockey (after watching), that would be a win.

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Catherine J. Martinez