Made possible by a Community Leadership Program Grant from the Embassy and Fulbright Canada, Level the Ice was a weeklong hockey training camp at the Sensplex in Kanata, Ontario. Open to deserving players with strong character who have overcome, or currently face, beyond average economic challenges in playing the game of hockey, the camp combined on- and off-ice instruction with mentorship that brought in community leaders from hockey, business, academic and other successful backgrounds.
The motto of Level the Ice is “Skill should be the only bottom line”. Coordinated by Fulbright alumni Ian McGrath, Robin McLay and Scott Delaney, the camp came from a shared vision that the best hockey players deserve an opportunity to compete at the highest levels irrespective of their financial ability. With the assistance of Andrew Stewart (Executive Director, Level The Ice) and Evan Brownrigg (Director of Player and Program Development, Level The Ice) the dream became reality for 20 deserving hockey players.
Next Generation Hockey, Ottawa’s elite-level hockey performance camp and clinic provider, developed an intensive conditioning and development program for the players.
Generous volunteers from Next Generation Hockey created an amazing program, the timing and focus of which will enable these elite young players to compete at the highest levels in the upcoming season.
A key component of the camp was showing the kids what it would take to realize their dreams. Guest speakers like Brad Shaw (Former captain of Ottawa Senators and Assistant Coach of the St Louis Blues) and Marc Dorion (Canadian gold medallist Paralympian sledge hockey player) spoke to the passion and hard work required to make the pros. Michael Hawes (CEO Fulbright Canada) spoke about college hockey and the importance of an education. Cody Ceci (Defenseman for the Ottawa Senators) inspired the players and spoke to the need for total dedication.
The support for the camp in the area was outstanding. July 7, 2014 was proclaimed as “Level The Ice Day” by Deputy Mayor Steve Desroches. The US Embassy took video of the on-ice action and interviews.
Ian McGrath and Andrew Stewart spoke about their vision for the hockey camp in an interview with the US Embassy available on YouTube. The photographs taken by Shattered Memories Photography brilliantly captured the on-ice energy and will be featured on the Level the Ice website, leveltheice.com.
Given the support and positive reactions of all involved, Level The Ice will seek to hold another camp next year. Many thanks to Fulbright’s Community Leadership program for the opportunity to give something back to those deserving young hockey players in our community. Follow us on twitter (@leveltheice) or on Facebook (Level The Ice).
Post by Fulbright Alumni Ian McGrath, co-coordinator of the Community Leadership Program “Level the Ice”
Ian McGrath is a former student-athlete. As an athlete, Ian brings his hockey playing and coaching experience to the program. Ian played his Junior hockey with his hometown Kemptville 73’s and played for Carleton University between 2000-2004. From 2010-12 he was a certified skating instructor with the City of Ottawa, running skating courses for underprivileged youth as part of the City’s “Love to Skate” program.
Ian’s academic background is in refugee settlement and integration issues. In addition to having published his own studies on these issues, he has also been named a Fulbright Visiting Scholar to Georgetown University, a Transatlantic Fellow for Migration and Integration by The German Marshall Fund and most recently a member of the McGill University Institute for the Study of International Development ’ s Leadership Council. Ian currently works for the federal government in Ottawa.