The moment each boy and girl at HEROS receives their first piece of hockey equipment is an important milestone: it signifies joining the HEROS family. Each season, across the country, HEROS is responsible for hundreds of sets of gear. This equipment, given to our players completely free of charge, needs to be properly managed and maintained so we are able to extend its usage for as long as possible. Athletic Clean, owned and operated by John MacDonald, is an integral part of how we keep that gear going year after year.
Smelly gear is often the source of jokes in hockey locker rooms but the effects of stored bacteria in gear can lead to harmful consequences and, in HEROS case, can jeopardize the shelf life of the equipment that is donated to us. Athletic Clean is a hygienic processing service company that clinically sanitizes sports equipment. John is a passionate advocate of encouraging players and teams to responsibly maintain their gear and provides education on how harmful bacteria can affect them and their teammates. Thanks to John’s support we have been able to provide safe and clean gear to the Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto chapters for eight seasons at half the cost to John’s normal fees. John is quick to point out that bottom-line thinking is not the only way he wants to run his business, he is committed to seeing the “intangible paychecks” that come from supporting initiatives like HEROS. The value he sees in HEROS is through “it’s ability to show the tangible impact they are having on the players. The effort and dollars invested translates to direct benefit to the kids and makes it all worth it.” John speaks from first-hand experience about the benefits he sees as he has taken the extra step of sponsoring one of our Toronto area players. One of his favourite highlights from his time with HEROS is watching his sponsored player grow and develop.
John’s tenacity and passion for his work is clear and he brings the same intensity to his participation with HEROS. In 2010 John and his son in partnership with HEROS coordinated a hockey gear donation delivery to a remote Northern Ontario Indigenous community. They were committed to seeing the delivery through despite terrible weather. During the trip they experienced a significant accident that wrecked their truck and trailer carrying the gear. Most people would call off the trip and head home before things could get worse but not John or his son. The pair rented a truck and trailer from the nearest town, switched over the gear and carried on. John and his son delivered over 80 sets of equipment to a community in need. To say John is determined to make a difference and passionate about the HEROS cause is an understatement.
We are always proud to highlight the work that our generous supporters do to help our program succeed. Their passion and dedication is integral to allow our programs to flourish and reach even more boys and girls across Canada. Thank you John!