OSHAWA, Ont. – Smiles were left on every face as the UOIT women's hockey team departed Grandview Children's Centre Thursday morning after the second ever Ridgeback Day.
With over half the team making the trip to Grandview's main location in Oshawa, the Ridgebacks were split into groups to interact with children from the Campbell Children's School after a tour by the principal.
Players played hockey in the gym, had fun playing games with the parachute, did activities in the classroom and learned about dog therapy with some of the students.
"The students and staff of Campbell Children's School are excited to have this partnership with the UOIT Ridgebacks," said Campbell Children's School liaison Stefanie-Anne Balcom. "The hockey team exemplified patience and compassion. Our students were the fortunate recipients of this amazing act of community outreach and we can't wait to have them bring smiles to all of our faces, again, soon."
Earlier in the school year the men's hockey team visited Grandview and were tested in mini-stick games, took part in dog therapy with students and participated in the school's annual Terry Fox Walk.
"It was a very rewarding experience for our players to be able to spend some time interacting with the children at Grandview," said head coach Curtis Hodgins. "It was great for all of us to see the passion and professionalism of the teachers and staff, and how patient and warm they are with the kids. It was neat to see our players down on the floor and playing trains and building Lego with the youngsters, and to see the joy it brought to the kids."
The Ridgeback Days are a slight evolution to the original partnership between Grandview Children's Centre and the UOIT athletic department. With individual student-athletes originally volunteering their time, the teams wanted to have a day every month of the school year to spend at Campbells.
"This partnership is something that is very valuable to us as it teaches our athletes so much," said UOIT manager of intercollegiate athletics Scott Barker. "The men's hockey team started the year at Grandview off on a high note and we're excited to continue to hear the positive stories after the women's hockey team visit. Our athletes and department are looking forward to each Ridgeback Day this year."
Once a month until April the Ridgebacks will visit the Campbell Children's School, with the opportunity for athletes to also get involved individually when they are available.
Source: UOIT Ridgebacks