Cheam Source for Sports has long been a friend to the Chilliwack Minor Hockey Association (CMHA), but the local business is going next-level with its support this season.
While Cheam is officially listed as ‘title sponsor’ for the 2021-22 season and beyond, CMHA president Lee McCaw describes the relationship as more of a ‘community partnership.’
“It’s not a financial thing and there’s no trading of money or purchases of any kind. There are 11 things that Cheam is supplying to Chilliwack Minor Hockey out of the goodness of their hearts,” McCaw said. “I’ve been involved in all kinds of sports in Chilliwack, and this is kind of unprecedented, from what I’ve seen.
“I was kind of blown away by the way they stepped up.”
McCaw said seeds of the new partnership were sown when CMHA reached out to Cheam co-owner Brian Gillespie, asking if he would subsidize the cost of replacement game pucks that would have the Cheam logo on one side and the CMHA logo on the other.
“He turned around and said, ‘You know what? I’ll just pay for the pucks.’ And from there it just evolved,” McCaw said.
On the equipment side, Cheam has subsidized the costs for a whole new set of rep tryout jerseys and outfitted all of CMHA’s development staff with grey CCM track suits.
But equipment is just part of the partnership.
“We talked about how Cheam could be a part of what we’re doing, and most of it was driven by Brian (Gillespie),” McCaw said. “Doing an MVP award was his idea. Doing a little kids’ prize package in initiation and below for every game MVP was his idea. Holding an awards banquet at the end of the year was all his idea.
“Obviously it’s of benefit to Cheam too, but there’s no specific return on investment for Brian and (co-owner) Geoff (Ames). It’s just about, ‘How can we support you guys?’”
Full details of the CMHA/Cheam agreement can be found online at chilliwackminorhockey.com/article/65929
There’s more afoot with CMHA as the offseason unfolds, including the first of what McCaw hopes will be many CMHA Scholarship Golf Tournaments. The 2021 event takes place Aug. 14 at the Chilliwack Golf Club, with proceeds going to post-secondary scholarships for graduating U18 players.
Individual registration is $125 and $450 for a foursome.
CMHA is bringing First Shift to Chilliwack this fall. A joint initiative of the National Hockey League, National Hockey League Players Association and Bauer, it’s designed to introduce hockey to newcomers.
“At whatever age that may be,” McCaw said. “It’s a six-session program with an introductory session where they’re provided with a full set of Bauer hockey gear and the on-ice instruction is done by our development group. We had 30 spots available when we first posted it, and within 24 hours we had 23 of those spots taken. It booked up super fast, and these are all kids that aren’t registered with CMHA. They’re getting the opportunity to try hockey and hopefully they do become CMHA members because of this.”