Five Hole For Food is wrapping up its 4th annual cross-Canada road hockey campaign that raises food and funds for charities in the communities that host their games. From St. John’s to Halifax, Ottawa to Calgary and in between, the concept is pretty simple: Show up with a donation for your local food bank and play a fun road hockey tournament.
In 2011 I talked to Founder Richard Loat as his Vancouver-based team headed west across the Rocky Mountains. That year they had a goal to raise 20,000lbs of food which they met by the time they hit Regina. This year as they approach Calgary, Richard is confident they’ll reach 250,000lbs of food raised for local charities as they have already doubled their 2012 figures at this point in the trip.
“The tour this year has been pretty incredible. I feel very fortunate to have been able to drive across Canada even once, but to be doing it for a fourth time you see some incredible things and being able to share Canadiana is pretty special,” Richard told me by email this morning.
Before heading out for the big tour this year, Five Hole For Food also played its first two international games. John and I joined them in Austin, Texas during the South by South West conference for their first American campaign and then Richard was in New York’s Central Park on Canada Day as well.
“It’s been a lot of fun to see what makes each city unique. In Halifax we had the Navy come out and support things, in Calgary we’ve seen people really rally around our efforts to support the flood relief, and in Regina it was clear that no matter what sport people played it would always be Rider Nation first. I think seeing that just puts into perspective that Canada is so different from coast-to-coast, but we have that common tie of hockey which is why we do this and why we want to turn a Canadian passion into action at the food bank’s greatest time of need.”
“We’ve been lucky to have incredible weather, and looking at the buzz that’s building, I think the Vancouver game is going to be bigger than we ever expected.”
Today they’ll be playing their 10th game of this year’s trip in Calgary from 2:00pm to 6:00pm at Eau Claire Market. Richard says they have Harvey the Hound coming down, some Flames Alumni, a Stampeders player and other activities to look forward to in this home stretch.
After today’s game they’ll drive up to Edmonton where they’ll play at Centennial Square from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Then the Five Hole For Food team will return to BC, playing in Victoria on Friday, July 19th and then coming home for a game on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, July 20th, 2013 from 12:00pm to 6:00pm.
The games are for all ages and skill levels — all you need is a hockey stick and a can of food to participate. In Vancouver, all funds and food raised will support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Local officials, media, sports figures, and celebrities occasionally make their way to Five Hole For Food games as well and it’s lots of fun to watch even if you don’t play.