Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Hockey Life: Can tabs for Colin

When we started on this little hockey journey of ours a few years ago, we cut a deal with Colin. If he fulfilled certain obligations, we'd make sure he'd be able to play hockey at some level. In this age of entitled children, our goal was to have him understand that every reward requires effort.

Getting good grades is his most important obligation. So far, save for one semester since fourth grade, he has held up his end of the bargain, routinely making honor rolls and principal's lists. He knows that his education will take him further than anything else in life.

His second obligation has been to hustle, treating each and every shift during a game like it's his last. If we're going to work hard to make sure we can afford his hockey expenses, well, then, he better go as hard as he can. Though he has needed to be reminded on occasion about this aspect, we're hoping it's a nonfactor in the years ahead.

Finally, the last obligation we placed before him was that he had to have a community-service project. Even if he never makes it past youth travel and rec hockey leagues, we wanted to stress the importance of helping out in the community. It's good for a person's character and their soul.

In choosing his project, Colin went for one that helps children. He collects can tabs for Shriner's International, which recycles the tiny pieces of aluminum to raise money. In Colin's case, the money is put to use at the Shriner's Hospital in Tampa.

Over the years, thanks to his friends at the Tampa Bay Times and our extended hockey family, he has donated about 20 to 25 pounds (a conservative estimate) of can tabs. Just last week, Colin, representing the Pinellas P.A.L. Stars, dropped up another couple of bags full of tabs (shown above) to Cherie Girard, our friend at Shriner's International's headquarters in Tampa.

Going forward, though, Colin wants to ramp up his efforts. Borrowing an idea from one of his former hockey teammates, who collected dog food and toys for an animal shelter, Colin would like can tabs, rather than presents, for his birthday at the end of this month.

He's always willing to collect and share can tab donations from others. All you have to do is let us know, by sending an email to We can make arrangements to pick them up or give you our address, if you aren't in the Tampa Bay area.

Making his day, we hope, will help make some days for other kids.


  1. Very, very cool. Excellent work Colin. Keep it up!

    Congrats on getting back on the ice today.

  2. Thanks. He had a good day at his games. Team finished 1-0-1, coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the second game. He scored the Stars' first goal that game, too.