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Five Hole for Food

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Richard Loat is a self-proclaimed “fan of the underdog – first Bryan Allen, then Alex Burrows, and now Jannik Hansen.”

Little did Loat, aka Mozy19 as he is known on and Twitter, know that he would play the role of the underdog in his latest venture, Five Hole for Food, a massive cross-Canada road hockey trek that began as a fun endeavor and ended as an amazingly successful charitable event.

Instead of taking the summer off to rest up before blogging his way through another season, Loat, alongside co-pilot Vic Lo, used his social media contacts across the country to set up a series of street hockey games, nine in 11 days between June 29 and July 9, starting in Montreal and ending in Vancouver.

“I just thought it was really cool that hockey could bring people together that had never met before, only interacted as 16 x 16 avatars,” said Loat, who landed Molson Canadian and Boston Pizza as sponsors of the event. “The funny thing is that the trip started as just a hockey trip, but it quickly became about the charitable side of things.”

When Loat realized the positive affect a road trip of this magnitude could have for charity, he got in touch with food banks across Canada as a way to impact each community visited.

“The shelves at the food banks are typically empty or close to empty in the summer because the Christmas food drives are their biggest donation and that has almost run out. That was one of the main reason for picking the food banks, the other reason was that there are a lot of good charities out there that you can raise money for, but with food banks you know right away that food is going to a hungry stomach. It has a really immediate impact.”

So did Five Hole for Food.

The combined amount of food raised was 5,917 pounds, or nearly a pound per kilometer driven on this trip between Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver. Not surprisingly, Vancouverites showed support for the event like no one else donating over 3,000 pounds of food, more than all other eight cities combined.

The only downside to the trip for Loat, besides the unpredictable weather that hit the Five Hole for Food crew with “everything from 36-degree weather to tornadoes to thunder storms to torrential downpours,” was the final score of the road hockey tournament as Lo’s Team Red upended Loat’s Team White 6-3.

“The best-of-nine didn’t go my way, but the overall adventure was a success and the Canucks beat the Flames in our themed game in Calgary and that was a feather in my cap,” smirked Loat.

“Overall everyone was super supportive of this, from the food banks to sponsors to players, everyone thinks it’s a great idea. The big thing I’ve been hearing is am I going to do it next year and I as soon as I say yes, they say count me in.

“This was the first year, there have been some growing pains, but we had an overwhelmingly positive response and I can’t wait to start planning for next year.”

Ditto for the food banks and ultimately those in need of a good meals across Canada.

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