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Gazdic Earns Assist for Spreading Literacy

by Andrea Goss / Edmonton Oilers

Books have a unique way of stirring the senses and igniting the imagination. They can magically transport us to faraway places, or as was the case for the Grade 1 students at Princeton School, into the net during a hockey game.

On Monday afternoon, Oilers forward Luke Gazdic joined the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) to help spread the gift of literacy and launch the seventh year of the EPCOR Share A Book program. He read aloud The Best Goalie Ever, written by Gilles Tibo and illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin. Legs crossed and hands in their laps, the students listened intently to the hockey tale, animated by their hockey idol.

“Nickolas was happily reading in bed when his dad barged into the room,” read Gazdic. “Guess what son? The goalie on your team is sick. How do you feel about playing in net tomorrow?”

The EPCOR Share A Book program provides two new books and a book bag to Grade 1 students across Oil Country. Since its inception in 2007, more than 21,000 books have been distributed to over 10,000 students, ensuring the joy of reading is not limited by financial means.

EPCOR stepped up to join the program this year, making a three-year commitment to Share A Book. With their added support, the Oilers Foundation was able to reach 2,300 Grade 1 students in 98 classrooms this March.

“This year we had a great partner in EPCOR so we were able to distribute even more books, which brought the total to 4,600 for 2014,” said Natalie Minckler, EOCF Executive Director. “All these Grade 1 kids can go home and start learning and reading, and start their very own libraries.”

“At EPCOR, we support a number of different community-based initiatives and one of the things we choose to support is education initiatives because we think education is important,” said Frank Mannarino, Senior Vice President of Electricity Operations at EPCOR. “It’s a long-term investment in the community and it will ultimately lead into better citizens and people that will perhaps have a career with EPCOR.”

In addition to The Best Goal Ever, recipients of the Share A Book program also received Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow by Phoebe Gilman.

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