In its essence, hockey is a grass-roots game and, inherently, it has an important role to play in fostering positive community relationships at the local level. Blackfalds Bulldogs team owners, Doug and Jodie Quinn, understand this fundamental role a hockey team plays within a community, which ultimately led to the formation of the Bulldogs Foundation.
The unique platform provided by the Junior hockey team has enabled the Bulldogs Foundation to go the extra mile in support of the Blackfalds and central Alberta communities.Throughout the season, Bulldogs players and staff partnered with schools and local businesses to help spearhead charitable campaigns in the community and, most notably, support local youth and student initiatives.
Dustin Moore is the Bulldogs Foundation Executive Director and has naturally been actively involved with the primary aspects of the foundation this season. He says it has been a humbling and enjoyable experience so far and he has been thrilled with the progression he has witnessed up to this point.
“Jodie and Doug’s vision of this foundation, and the community involvement that we’ve had through the first year has been awesome,” expressed Moore.
“We’ve dealt with over 20 organizations, nonprofits or charities, with over $20,000 going back to the central Alberta community in the first year. Really successful fundraisers; with our lip-sync contest getting the staff outside their comfort zones and recording some lip-sync videos that are now living on the internet forever, so that was a really fun one (and) we raised almost $3,000 for the central Alberta Humane Society.”
The overarching goal for the foundation, Moore explains, is to incorporate the front-facing hockey element with the important community outreach aspect, creating a cohesive and effective charitable organization. A big focus has been directed towards community outreach in the local schools and one of Moore’s favourite foundation initiatives this year was the P.U.G. Program (Pick Up Grades) that helped engage students in the classroom and inspire them to achieve their academic goals.
“It was a really cool vision by Jodie, one that she had gone through in her past, and I think showing that recognition and showing a little bit of achievement is such a big part of moving forward,” describes Moore.
“Our mission with the foundation is really to enhance the life of central Albertans through fundraising and volunteering, becoming a kind of bridge with Junior hockey,” Moore revealed. “With (the players) being such mentors in the Blackfalds and central Alberta community, (we’re) just making sure that they’re really doing their part to help our young Blackfalds’ students reach their goals.”
As he reflected back on the impressive inaugural season for the Bulldogs, while also considering the substantial strides taken by the fledgling foundation in its’ first year, one thing in particular stood out to Moore.
“One of the things I’m most proud of this season is just the players’ involvement in the different groups (and) the willingness and the participation in volunteering,” Moore expressed. “They had to go out into the community with those different organizations, whether it be the school, the Food Bank, the Humane Society, to name a few, and we put in over 400 hours between our staff and players this season. Can’t wait to beat that goal next year!”
The future looks bright, and certainly very busy for Moore and the Bulldogs Foundation, as they plan to have plenty of fun around central Alberta this summer. The inaugural Bulldogs Foundation golf tournament will be held on June 10, 2022 at the Lacombe Golf & Country Club and the popular player’s fashion show will also be making a return for a good cause, helping to raise money for charities, while simultaneously involving a wide variety of like-minded central Alberta businesses.
With a strong base and a clear understanding of their role in the community, the Bulldogs Foundation is setting a new standard for what it means to ‘give back’ and they intend to do so for many seasons to come.
Article: Bryan Wilson