A hockey team of 21 years based out of Toronto filled with well known actors, comedians and musicians is in Kelowna this weekend to participate in the Okanagan Cup and to give back to some local charities.
The Jokers Hockey Club stopped by the Karis Support Society — an addictions and recovery centre for mothers — to help with some heavy lifting and to provide some comedic relief.
“More of what we’re doing today is hands-on. A lot of what we do is raise, but today’s an exciting day for us that’s hands-on. So, the guys can come, share stories, meet some people and talk to them, and hopefully give them an hour of some joy and inspire us,” said team captain Ted Baisaillion.
“Yeah, we’re not dissimilar. We are a group of 20 guys, a band of brothers and we’ve had death, we’ve had divorce, we’ve had babies being born, birthdays. We’re always there for each other and I think it’s a similar situation here. These people are here for each other.”
The executive director of the Karis Support Society tells Castanet the facility’s 37 beds are at full capacity and that it’s been difficult to find housing for women post recovery.
“We allow women to access our program for the amount of time that they want to be in our program, and sometimes a bed will come up and a new person can come in. Like everybody else looking for housing right now, housing is impacting us at Karis,” said co-executive director Deborah Klassen.
“As women progress through our program and they’re ready to live independently out in the community, we are struggling to find accommodations for them. So that actually puts a halt on us bringing in new individuals as well.”
The hockey team likes to have fun on the ice, but the team captain says the real victory is being able to help countless charities over their 21 years together.
“We started doing good things for people early on, and then it really took off when our corporate sponsor Safety First Dave King Fire Suppression Company just said, you know what Ted, I like you, I like this team, I like what you guys stand for, do you guys want a team sponsor or partner?” added Baisaillion.
“We said sure, and then he started buying us stuff. And any time we get involved with a charity, he’s right there with us and it fits the philosophy of his company, as well as giving back, so he supports us and makes us stronger and better when we go to help these charities.”
Following game action, the Jokers’ comedian Sean Cullen will be at Dakoda’s Sports Bar on Saturday night doing a comedy show to raise money for Mamas for Mamas.