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Brad Fletcher

Hockey with Heart Sports Honouree 2023

Hockey With Heart (HWH), is the charitable arm of the Unionville Men’s Hockey Club (UMHC), led by Brad Fletcher in collaboration with fellow committee members Dennis Fortnum, Wayne Nishimura, Peter Sands, and Dave Wilson. With a thirty-five-year business background in the food and wine sectors, Brad and his committee colleagues represent over 160 hockey players who make it their mission to compete weekly in a cold arena, while also working together to warm the hearts of their community.

Since inception in 1983, HWH has been involved in countless initiatives: supporting homeless teens, delivering Christmas dinners to families in need, providing funding and food assistance to the Markham Food Bank, supporting an annual wish for a terminally ill child, and much more. Over the years, HWH has provided over $500,000 in community support.

While many memorable moments come to mind for Brad, on a charitable front, providing a scholarship for a homeless teen through 360°Kids a number of years ago stands out. When a UMHC player suffered a sudden death, his family was devastated and requested donations to HWH in lieu of flowers. The support from that initiative was incredible and HWH was able to facilitate and financially augment a scholarship in his memory. A presentation was organized for the scholarship announcement which involved the member’s wife, children, grandchildren, 360°Kids, along with UMHC and HWH members. It was an emotional event that left everyone in tears. After the presentation, Brad recalls a poignant moment and conversation with Dennis, his colleague on the HWH committee. Overwhelmed and still reeling with emotion after seeing the family’s reaction to the presentation, nothing was said to each other until they reached their cars when Dennis appropriately said, "That's why we do what we do.”

Members of the HWH committee and UMHC league, know the satisfaction of doing good when they see how their efforts have contributed to shaping and making their community a wonderful place to live. Seeing the impact of how charitable service can set an example to their own children inspires them. A final reward worth mentioning, is that by being involved in charitable giving, we understand how fortunate we truly are to be living in Canada. Brad has crossed paths with many individuals who have had to make much more difficult decisions than he has; seeing and respecting those decisions and the legacy those choices create for their children leave him deeply grateful for all this country has provided.

When asked to reflect on some positive memories experienced during the recent COVID challenge, he proudly acknowledges the many individuals, particularly the employees of Village Grocer in Markham, who stepped up during the pandemic—a time when the humble cashier, butcher, baker, produce clerk, and shelf stocker ruled the world. The efforts of some, assisted many during a truly difficult time in our lives. Service to the public and those in vulnerable situations was a highlight.


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