MANITOULIN—Over the past few weeks, members of the Manitoulin Panthers teams were to be found packing groceries in local stores and helping people bring the bags and boxes to their vehicles. The young hockey players were engaged in community service and competing for the coveted Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup.
“This is a Canada-wide competition for peewee teams,” explained Panthers coach Scot Hughson. “Teams upload a video to the website and they pick the top 10.
The peewee team members may still be challenged in height, but the competition prize is far from tiny. “You can win $100,000 for the charity of your choice,” said Mr. Hughson. “We decided to do a food drive for Manitoulin Family Resources.”
The Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup seeks to “inspire young Canadians to do good by transforming the positive values learned through hockey into good deeds within their communities.” The Good Deeds Cup is a partnership between the automotive company and Hockey Canada. “Chevrolet’s goal is to develop hockey players on and off the ice,” notes the company’s website.
Over the past three years, thousands of “Good Deeds” have been completed by teams in cities and towns across Canada.
When the Northern Ontario Hockey Association was told about the Manitoulin Panthers’ effort, the idea of an exchange came up. They proposed partnering with a southern Ontario team in a cultural exchange. “The team just jumped at it,” said Mr. Hughson.
Unfortunately, the rules of the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup do not allow for two teams to submit a joint entry to the competition, but that didn’t hinder the Toronto-area Avenue Road Ducks. The team of Jewish hockey players set up a GoFundMe page and set about collecting food donations in their own communities.
Nine of the 17-member team came to Manitoulin to visit the Panthers and learn more about the culture of the North and First Nations traditions and culture, bringing the food donations with them to add to the Manitoulin Panthers’ efforts.
Manitoulin Family Resources executive director Marnie Hall credited the efforts of the two hockey teams with helping to bring the 2019 tally of donations of both food and money to a new high.
“Every year we target for around $50,000 in cash donations,” said Ms. Hall. “This year we may actually meet that goal.”
The Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup has been running for three years. In 2016-2017 the inaugural winner of the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup was the Glace Bay Miners—a peewee team “who brought joy to Canadian veterans by celebrating with them on Valentine’s Day. The Miners surprised the veterans at a retirement home and brought each of them a Valentine’s Day gift. It was an act of kindness that brought happiness to both the young and old.”
In 2017-2018 it was The Pas Huskies, a team from a “tight-knit community in Northern Manitoba who rallied together to make a lasting impact.” The Huskies helped save a local shelter from closing right before the holidays. “Through their hard work, they made a difference in their community that was felt across the country,” notes the citation.
Last year, the 2018-2019 winners stepped up to help when the neighbouring town of Dunrobin was hit by a devastating tornado. The West Carleton Warriors knew they had to help and “immediately began raising funds to clean up the area to aid in Dunrobin’s recovery.”
Hockey Canada and Chevrolet, along with the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup ambassadors, review each entry to determine the regional finalists. Canadians then get their chance to vote for the top three before an expert panel decides who will be crowned champion.
On January 25, 11 regional finalists will be announced on Hockey Night in Canada and via social media. Between then and February 9, Canadians will be able to vote on which regional finalists should advance to the top three by viewing the videos—each video view counts as one vote.
On February 29, 2020, the winner will be announced live on Hockey Night in Canada.