Colchester charities score with Kinsmen-Bearcats Power Play Program

Local player Riley MacInnis makes a presentation to Henry Vissers of the Bible Hill Kinsmen, which will benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society – Atlantic Division.

Beneficial program a part of Kinsmen and Bearcats’ volunteer Wayne McCormick’s legacy

TRURO, N.S. — It was a simple ceremony that only took a few minutes, but it exemplified the legacy of Wayne McCormick’s volunteer work for two of the organizations he bettered.

Just before their final regular-season game, five members of the Truro Jr. A Bearcats skated up to five Bible Hill Kinsmen, who were standing on a rolled-out red carpet, and presented them with checks for local charities.

It was the culmination of another year of the organizations’ Power Play Program, founded and organized by McCormick roughly 21 years ago – not long after the junior A team was relaunched in 1997.

McCormick, of Bible Hill, passed away in February at the age of 79.

“Wayne did all of the groundwork on it,” said Gerry Hale, a Bearcats’ volunteer since that first season in 1997-98.

The program has been held for 19 years and has raised $86,6000. This year’s total, impacted by the Bearcats’ reduced schedule due to COVID, was $3,000. It will go to five charities, including CEC Scholarship Fund, CEC Safe Grad Program, Colchester Food Bank, Multiple Sclerosis Society – Atlantic Division, and Cystic Fibrosis Canada Scotia Chapter.

Hale remembers the team’s start-up and then president Keith MacKenzie asking volunteers about different roles they would be willing to take on, as well as encouraging them to come up with their own ideas on how to integrate the team into the community while having the community embrace the team.

“That’s when Wayne came up with this Power Play Program,” Hale said, a program that guarantees a charity a $100 during a home game for Truro and then another $100 if the Bearcats connect on the powerplay during the game.

“It gets the (charity) organization’s name out there, the Kinsmen’s name out there, and shows the Bearcats are doing things in the community and have good partnerships within the community,” said Kinsmen Geoff Hamlin, who has been treasurer for a few years and looks after the Kinsmen’s end of the program.

“I used to work with Wayne on the project and the last two or three years, I’ve looked after it,” Hamlin said, adding there is a plan to rename it in a way to honour McCormick.

Hamlin said, normally, the total doled out to charities each year through the program is closer to $5,000 or $6,000, and that doesn’t count the financial support the Kinsmen provide on their own.

“Our donation to the food bank this year will be around $2,000,” he said, citing one example.

Hale talked about McCormick annually addressing the team near the conclusion of a season.

“He would go and talk to the team about the Kinsmen, taking part in your community, being involved in a community, and so on,” he said.

“We have tried to get the players involved in the community in a number of ways. For the last 12 years, I’ve had them involved with the Salvation Army Kettles,” Hale said. “They learn something from that, rather than just come to a town, play hockey, and so on. We try and get them involved.”

Hale said a lot of player involvement was in local schools, but COVID made that difficult the last couple of years.

“A kid in a new town has a lot of time on their hands, so if we can provide something for them, that’s great,” Hale said. “So efforts are made to get them involved in the community, and for the community to call us if they need something and we can help.”