A hockey equipment company started making the sticks and donating a portion of the proceeds to military family resource centres across the country. Flarrow Hockey started nine years ago and since selling the first Support Our Troops Stick has raised about 6000 dollars for military families.
The sticks are available in regular size, junior size and a goalie model. They retail for about 25 dollars each. They are available at several different locations in the Ottawa region including:
Costco - Innes Rd.Rink Pro - StittsvilleGearhead Sports - PetawawaHome Hardware - various locations.
If you can't find one at a store near you, they are available for shipping anywhere in Canada courtesy of the Alexandria Home Hardware.
A follow up story:
New Sticks Score Points Overseas:
What started out as a plan for one family to help their son serving in Afghanistan has turned into a way for the rest of the country to support the Canadian troops.
Flaro Hockey in Martintown, longtime makers of Flarrow hockey sticks, has made quite a splash creating and selling a red recreational hockey stick with the logo "S.O.T. Support our Troops."
Owner Denis Flaro says the venture started innocently enough, with an e-mail request from Cpl. Alan Billings, a technician with the Canadian Forces Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle unit in Afghanistan, asking mom Shannon and father Jamie, who works at Flaro, if they could send a couple of hockey sticks for the troops to use in their rough-and-tumble pick-up games.
Apparently, the plastic blades on the sticks they had just couldn't keep up with the action.
After the request was passed on to him, Flaro thought it was a good idea. "That night, I got to thinking that maybe we should send more," said Flaro.
And so 50 flame-red hardwood shaft sticks reinforced with fibreglass, graphite and Kevlar and carrying the S.O.T. logo were specially made and sent off on a cargo plane from Petawawa.
Once word of the sticks got out at home, Flaro said regular customers wanted to purchase them as a way to support the troops.
"It's something that just took off, it wasn't planned," said Flaro, still sounding a bit surprised by it all.
Now, more than 10,000 sticks have been produced, and can be purchased at select stores across the region, such as Home Hardware and Don Cherry's Grapevine Restaurants.
A percentage of the profits from sales of the sticks goes to the Canadian Forces' Military Family Resource Centre, which offers support services to families of soldiers fighting overseas. A senior stick retails for about $25, and a junior for about $21.
Back in Afghanistan, the hardy Canadian sticks are standing up to all the soldiers have to offer -- and giving the Canucks an advantage in the 13-team Kandahar-based Canadian and U.S. ball hockey league.
"They've done very well," said Flaro. "Alan e-mails all the time."
The family company back home has also gotten a boost, although that was far from the goal, he added.
"It's kinda nice when you're not thinking of any good coming out of it for yourself," said Flaro.