When Cochrane Minor Hockey redesigned its logo over a year ago, it purchased new jerseys for all of its teams, leaving them with about 1,600 obsolete jerseys in good condition.
Since then, some have found new homes in northern communities.
Minor hockey president Pierre Landry says the jerseys had plenty of miles left on them and they didn't them to go to waste.
"From Cochrane Minor Hockey's standpoint, we weren't looking to recoup any costs or anything like that, we were really just trying to find a new home for them."
Board member Lea Wiens, who is also with Sports4Life Cochrane, stepped forward and reached out to many Indigenous youth organizations.
Among them was Kingfisher Lake, an Oji-Cree First Nation, about 500 km north of Thunder Bay. It's accessible by air all year, by waterway in summer, and ice roads in winter.
Kingfisher Lake recreation activator Garry Sugarhead spurs on a number of recreational activities in the community of about 700 people. Additionally, he has served as an inspiration to his community with his answer to overcoming long-term addiction issues. In recent years, Sugarhead has embarked upon many walks several hundred kilometres in length between remote northern communities to strengthen both his mental and physical health.
Sugarhead says hockey is one of the most popular sports at Kingfisher Lake. He says the jerseys found plenty of use before the sport was shut down to COVID-19 restrictions. He says they will continue to be valued by the community.
"We're appreciative of these quality sweaters. We used them to play so much hockey last year."
Besides minor hockey donating the jerseys, Landry credits the resourcefulness of Wiens in finding another organization to cover the shipping costs.
"So, Cochrane Minor Hockey provided the jerseys, we boxed them up, and then another foundation we work with agreed to cover the freight charges, and then the jerseys eventually landed in the three different communities, essentially at no cost to the communities."
Some of the jerseys have also found homes in Kinngait (formerly Cape Dorset) and Arveit, both in the Nunavut territory.
Several jerseys remain to distribute.
"We have a bunch of jerseys that at the moment are still sitting and collecting dust and we'd love to find a good home for them," says Landry. "We're certainly not looking to generate any revenue or anything like that. We're just focussed on finding a home for them."