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Hay River Minor Hockey saw its name displayed on a recent broadcast of an NHL game.

However, it was not just an appreciative shout-out for the good work it is doing.

The Hay River association was listed among 10 across Canada to receive funding from Kruger Products and its first-ever Kruger Big Assist.

The hockey associations will each receive $10,000 to cover the cost of registration for hockey families in need of an off-ice assist.

Pennie Pokiak, president of Hay River Minor Hockey, was pleased to receive the support.

“It is very exciting,” she said. “Exciting for the community and exciting for our association.”

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Pokiak had heard about Kruger Big Assist from Hockey NWT, which sent out an email to hockey associations in the territory.

“And so I forwarded it off to basically all of our membership,” she said, noting anyone could then nominate the association.

Video of playing hockey

And Jillian Zdebiak, who has an eight-year-old son playing novice hockey in Hay River, did just that.

“I sent a little video of my son and his friend playing hockey and just included how great our hockey association is,” said Zdebiak.

She said it was great to see Hay River’s name on the screen during the NHL game.

“I actually got choked up,” she said of getting the support for the hockey association. “When you have a child in hockey, you see how much work and effort they put into it. So to be able to give back a little bit, it actually worked out. It was just really nice.”

Pokiak, who had been contacted a couple of weeks in advance of the public announcement of the funding, said she is thankful for Zdebiak’s efforts in obtaining the support.

“The object of the money is to provide opportunities for kids to play hockey,” she noted.

Kruger Products is Canada’s leading manufacturer of tissue products for household, industrial and commercial use.

“It’s been a difficult year for Canada’s hockey families, and our goal is to support their love and participation in our national sport,” said Susan Irving, the chief marketing officer with Kruger Products, in an April 6 news release.

More than 450 minor hockey associations from across Canada applied for a Kruger Big Assist to help families struggling to afford registration fees.

Along with Hay River, the other associations to receive support are located in West Colchester, N.S.; Sept-Îles, Que.; Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, Que.; Ottawa; Hamilton, Ont.; the Bruce Peninsula, Ont.; McCreary, Man.; Peace River, Alta.; and Abbotsford. B.C.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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