What it does: The FHL: Football Hockey Link is a non-profit organization that is committed to supporting the integration of culturally diverse children and youth into Canadian society by facilitating their involvement in Canadian football and hockey associations.
This is done by introducing Canadian football and hockey to children of diverse backgrounds through a barrier-free initiation program and then providingnecessary support to link them to the sports associations in their community. This is accomplished through dedicated partnerships with the Calgary Stampeders, Hockey Calgary, University of Calgary Dinos Football club, and a local bus line which donate their services so these children can experience these great sports. The children can then see if they have a skill or desire to continue in these sports and then we work with the families to connect them to their local associations-assisting them through the process to help them and the associations make a smooth transition to the teams.
Why it’s cool: It is well known the benefits of sports for children; any children who experience exclusion, intimidation, insecurity can find confidence and trust in themselves and others through team sports and the camaraderie that goes with it. Sports can prevent young people from taking a path that is harmful or destructive. FHL believes that these sports could specifically benefit immigrant children and youth who are trying to integrate into the mainstream culture. Hockey and Canadian football, two sports that define Canadian culture, will give these children the sense of inclusion and belonging for the benefit of their development. In addition, FHL is aware that associations are ran by dedicated volunteers and could use assistance to bridging the gap between the association sports and immigrant families, helping families to understand the commitments and subsidies to assist them.
The FHL has averaged approximately 40 children each year for the last 3 years, with a third of these children going on into associations.
Some testimonies from our families and children, taken in the last couple seasons of ourprogram show the impact of the program and why being part of the FHL would be an amazing experience”
- “Yes because what you guys do is amazing, maybe with your guys’ help a kid will get into the NHL, NFL, CFL”
- “Yes I would – it was a really exciting feeling when I started, so I think they would also have a great feeling”
What did you like best through the FHL program:
- “Playing a game in hockey and meeting Henry Burris #1 football player”
- “Going to the Stamps game and playing hockey”
- “For football, it was when the Dinos came and played with us. I thought it was really cool that they could come-for hockey, it was the first day we went on the ice because I remember when I stepped on the ice I fell and I kept falling the whole time after that”
- “When I got on the ice the first time, a feeling I will never forget”
- “I liked watching the football game and knowing new techniques in hockey”
From FHL Parents:
- “It’s great in increasing their confidence and meeting new people and getting knowledge about hockey and football”
- “Program for sure raised my child’s confidence. At first my child thought he would not be able to skate, now he is doing well and loving it. He also made new friends”
- “It was a great experience for my children and myself and it helped my son to enter a hockey team, it was fun”
- The program helps us a lot. I mean my children and myself. It gave them something fun to do and it game me hope that there are good people out there who are willing to help and bring joy and laughter to our family.
- My kids play hockey and football only because of this program. I think something should be done to enable them to join associations. We still feel marginalized from the mainstream culture! Thank you very much for giving my kids such a wonderful opportunity
- Keep up the good work and I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. God bless you.
- I hope you inform many parents or children through the schools or through other family events so immigrants can get a chance to enrol in Canadian sports.
- Thanks a lot for you guys. You did a wonderful job and gave them something they will never forget in their lives and being a good example of careful and honest and show them a good model for volunteering and community service providers.
How you can help: Check out FHL’s posting on the Volunteer Calgary website for available volunteer opportunities. We currently have postings for Risk Management specialists to assist the FHL in documentation and a summer student from the secondary institutions to assist in research and writing proposals for funding.