Home Argentina community Sarah Thompson from Ottawa plans to bring street hockey to Argentina

Sarah Thompson from Ottawa plans to bring street hockey to Argentina

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Thompson plans to take his passion for hockey to a low-income community in Argentina for a project called Sticks Together.

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One of Sarah Thompson’s happiest memories growing up in Orleans was being allowed to stay up late to play street hockey.

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“I think that’s what got me where I am now,” said Thompson, who plays NCAA Division 1 hockey at Syracuse University on a scholarship, “because I got got pushed and stepped out of my comfort zone. That’s what street hockey gave me.

This spring, Thompson plans to take his passion for hockey to a low-income community in Argentina for a project called Sticks Together. In collaboration with International Volunteer HQ, she plans to bring a bag full of used hockey sticks and new nets donated by Play It Again Sports to help teach young people the joys of the most Canadian sport: road hockey.

Thompson started playing hockey at age six with the Gloucester-Cumberland Girls Hockey Association, later playing for the Lady 67s and Nepean Wildcats. She wore the Canadian jersey in a series of Under-18 games against the United States in 2019.

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“I had been planning on doing some kind of volunteer trip for over a year now. I had originally planned to do something last spring, but, with COVID, it kind of messed up my plans, ”she said in an interview in Syracuse, where she is studying sports management and working as a intern with the Syracuse Crunch, the American Hockey League affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League.

“I see it as a kind of blessing in disguise, as it has given me more time to expand my impact.”

Raised in Ottawa, Sarah Thompson is a scholar-scholar at Syracuse University.
Raised in Ottawa, Sarah Thompson is a scholar-scholar at Syracuse University. Photo by Mike Okoniewski /Handout

Originally, Thompson planned to play sports with the equipment Argentinian children already had. Then she made a plan to take some hockey equipment with her.

Field hockey is already popular in Argentina, she said. “I knew the kids would love to acquire a bunch of new equipment and maybe learn a little more about street hockey. “

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Thompson played competitive soccer before focusing on hockey. So why not focus on football, a sport that is already an Argentinian passion?

“The whole idea of ​​the project was to bring something different. In many underprivileged communities, children only have access to a soccer ball, ”she said.

“It will give them the opportunity to practice a new sport. When I was in elementary school, I had the opportunity to play a lot of different sports and find out what excited me.

The project will run for three weeks and start in mid-May, involving 30 students in an after-school program, but many more children and youth will be able to benefit from the equipment, Thompson said.

“They are really on board. They were happy that I was teaching some of the PE teachers there how to teach hockey. That way, after I’m gone, they can continue to teach the next generation of kids how to play.

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Thompson plans to play for Syracuse until she graduates. It doesn’t rule out playing professionally either, but visiting Argentina will offer a different kind of avenue.

“I think that’s something I can see myself doing potentially full time: visiting places and giving all these kids the opportunity to play sports.”

There are three ways that those who want to donate can help. The three Play It Again Sports stores in Ottawa are collecting donations of used hockey sticks for the project. Stores will also accept used sports equipment of all kinds that can be resold, with funds raised going to Sticks Together.

There is also a GoFundMe page to help pay for travel expenses and purchase additional sports equipment in Argentina.

Play It Again sports district director Rob Lavoie heard about the project through a mutual friend whose daughter was coached by Thompson.

There are still three weeks left in the countryside, but Lavoie has a feeling that Thompson will have plenty of hockey sticks for the trip.

“I have no doubt it will be a success. It’s a pretty cool idea.

Sarah Thompson played for the Canadian Women's Under-19 Hockey team in a series of games against the United States in 2019.
Sarah Thompson played for the Canadian Women’s Under-19 Hockey team in a series of games against the United States in 2019. Photo by family photo /Handout

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