A bright orange hockey ball

A bright orange hockey ball

Vancouver-founded Five Hole For Food hits 1,000,000 milestone

The ball hockey-based annual charity and cross-Canada tour has now raised one million pounds of food for food banks coast-to-coast.

Five Hole For Food just completed its fifth tour across Canada, but that’s not the only milestone the country-crossing, ball hockey-slapping charity reached this weekend.

With its final game of 2014 on Vancouver’s Granville Street, FHFF also passed one million pounds of food, which have been raised since 2010 for local food banks coast-to-coast across Canada.

“The goal was to hit our millionth pound of food raised since day one,” said FHFF’s founder Richard Loat, speaking to Puck Daddy‘s Harrison Mooney. “We hit that milestone.

“It’s crazy how powerful hockey is in this country.”

If you’re unaware of Five Hole’s setup, it’s simple.

Loat and his group have spent the past five summers traversing the world’s second-largest country, holding road hockey games in several cities along the way.

Anyone and everyone is encouraged to come out and play – all you need to do to participate is bring your hockey stick and a can of food.

I first spoke to Loat – who’s from Vancouver, and recently graduate from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business – in October, 2012 after Five Hole’s third year on the road. It was an immensely popular annual tradition already, but since then the tour has grown to become a media darling and an institution among this country’s hockey community and its philanthropic community.

“We just invited all of Vancouver to come out and play hockey,” he said then. “We shut down (Granville) Street and we had three rinks set up.”

Loat and a few buddies started Five Hole For Food after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, with an original goal of seeing their country and doing some good along the way.

“If it wasn’t for Five Hole For Food, I wouldn’t have been out to Maritime Canada, to Atlantic Canada, and I love it out there, it’s a different pace,” he said. “There’s no two cities you can compare. They’re different in their own way and that’s what makes Canada Canada.”

In its first year, Five Hole For Food raised 6,000 pounds of food. The next year, over 70,000 pounds. In 2012, the tour raised 133,000 pounds of food.

So in the past 24 months, its growth has been exponential – its success admirable and inspiring.

The tour has also grown to include separate one-off events every year, in partnership with NHL clubs like the Phoenix Coyotes, and Loat has also founded Footy For Food – a soccer tour through the United Kingdom with the same charitable design.

“For me, it’s about raising more and more every year,” Loat said in 2013, while on the road in Marathon, Ontario. “Even if it’s just one pound of food more, it’s considered a success… The more impact we can leave on the community, the more impact we can make from year to year.”

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