Merging Canada’s Love of Hockey with the Power of Compassion
Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) is a unique Canadian charitable organization that combines the excitement of Canada’s favourite winter sport with the spirit of philanthropy by raising funds to address the needs of Canada’s homeless.
Founded on the principle that the appeal of sport can serve as a catalyst for positive societal change HHTH has, for almost 30 years, forged a legacy of compassion and social impact.
In the mid-1990s, HHTH was just a dream. Gary Scullion, a dynamic young Toronto business executive, volunteer, and entrepreneur, was searching for a way of combining his love of hockey with his personal vision of a fundraising initiative to provide shelter, assistance, and aid, for those experiencing homelessness in Toronto.
Sharing his dream with friends and business colleagues at every opportunity, the group members approached family, friends, and business associates for ideas and support. This enthusiasm led to their first hockey fundraising event at Toronto’s historic Maple Leaf Gardens in 1999. The inaugural event raised $8000.00.
As the organization evolved, the appeal of this innovative approach spread across Canada bringing together former NHL and Olympic hockey players, women’s hockey, local celebrities, and passionate community members eager to raise funds and awareness for local homelessness support organizations.
Today, HHTH partners with 50 local homeless support agencies across Canada in major cities and beyond. The organization now has more than 20,000 donors, 3,000 hockey players and 1,000 volunteers to help them meet the goals of their cause. A long way from their first event at Toronto’s MLG.
The two main areas of assistance offered by HHTH-supported beneficiaries are housing initiatives and support systems. Housing includes emergency housing, renovations, furnishing, and shelter relief for men, women, youth, and families.
Support is offered in the areas of staff, recreation, health and wellness, meals, mental health, storage, education, outreach, and life skills.
Love of hockey and a passion for helping the homeless have teamed HHTH with local community leaders now working together to ease the burden of homelessness.
HHTH Mission Statement
We believe that every Canadian should have a safe place to call home and the supports that they need to thrive. To ensure all homeless and at-risk Canadians have a fighting chance, we host Pro-Am and Collegiate hockey tournaments across Canada where players raise funds to make a direct impact in their own community.
Lacey Tryon, Manager of Operations at HHTH, says that silent auctions have always been a popular, important feature of HHTH events.
“Originally,” Lacey continues, “we used a Toronto-based company in Ontario and a few other third-party companies to manage the items and the bidding process. However, we had no control over the chosen items, and they used the traditional pencil and paper bid sheet method.”
As the popularity and importance of silent auctions grew, HHTH began looking for an improved auction platform and several years ago, settled on MobilBid. “Silent auctions represent an important revenue item for our events,” Lacey says, “and we now see a much better return.”
“The most important aspect of dealing with MobilBid”, Lacey continues, “is working directly with Derek and Dale. From our first contact through presentation, first class training, fast, phenomenal customer service, and easy billing, MobilBid offers a professional business model to be envied. It’s a blessing to work directly with the owner every day instead of a large support team.”
Generally, the auction items are sport themed. HHTH leaves it to the local committees to come to the table with what they think might be popular in their own market. Today, seventeen auctions are featured annually in seven different provinces!
“MobilBid’s online platform allows us to easily and efficiently update items and descriptions, automate outbid alerts, and receive payment immediately when the auction closes. The MobilBid platform eliminates a lot of manual labour.”
Lacey points out that “We love the automated message function so bidders can see instantly if they have been outbid and can respond immediately if they don’t want to lose out on the item. Another important feature is the ability to share the auction with those not in attendance, or who may not be present during the close.”
The system also retains bidding analytics and guest contact information. “This feature, Lacey says, “is amazing for archival reasons, letting us check back on past events to determine how the items performed, how many bids were placed, and the efficiency of items versus the value stated.”
“Overall”, Lacey says, “the MobilBid platform has helped us make our silent auctions more efficient and gives us the ability to share them with larger audiences. It also plays an important role as part of our archiving, for any pertinent auditing purposes.”
To find out more about HHTH events and social impact visit www.hockeyhelpsthehomeless.com
Lacey Tryon is Manager of Operations at HHTH Richmond Hill in Toronto’s GTA. She is a graduate of Brock University Sports Management with almost a decade of non-profit, sport, and entertainment experience, a strong believe in the power of sports and giving. Lacey possesses a passion for community, and for Canada’s national winter sport.