Espanola Rivermen of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are taking the term “community involvement” to an innovative level.
The first-year NOJHL entry has introduced its Captain’s Community Chores Program to fans and supporters from the North Shore area.
“There is no chore too small or too big. The Rivermen have a posse of one, two or 20 players who are willing to jump in where needed to do odd jobs for area community members or North Shore junior hockey fans that may be in need of help in any way,” said Rivermen general manager Randy Blake.
Brad Edwards, a 20-year old forward who is the captain Rivermen, noted that “Espanola and the surrounding area fans have come out to support us all season long so we thought with spring coming up, we as players could chip in here and there when needed, doing odd jobs that require our assistance for area households.”
Rivermen players will be available throughout the upcoming weeks for community chores and odd jobs upon request.
Requests can be made by e-mail on the team website or by calling the team office.
Tim Clayden, chairman, governor and director of operations for the Rivermen, shared the pride that he has in his players.
“We are pretty proud of the group of young men that we have assembled here this season,” Clayden began. “Although we’d like to win a few more games on the ice, winning off the ice is equally important to our entire hockey club.”
Clayden called the Rivermen “a special group of players.
“Their actions in the community all year have been excellent and this program will be no different,” said Clayden. “Many of the things these lads have learned this season on and off the ice will help guide them in their future endeavours. We encourage the community and our area junior hockey fans to reach out and put these guys to work, they are a lot of fun to be around.”
Currently in fourth place in the eight-team NOJHL with a solid record of 25-17-1, coach Tom McCarthy’s Rivermen are just one point out of third and have three games in hand on the third-seeded Abitibi Eskimos.
At the gate, the Rivermen lead the entire NOJHL with an average attendance of 556, which is 100-plus more than both Abitibi and the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, who are next.
As for some of the chores and odd jobs that Rivermen players are committed to doing for those who are in need, they include: Firewood splitting, stacking and delivery, snow removal and shovelling, dog walking, delivery of groceries and more.