(Edmonton, AB) – Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse might be known as a physical force in the National Hockey League (NHL), but away from the rink he has a heart of gold. Nurse is taking his Oilers leadership and sharing his positive influence with youth, announcing today that he has officially joined Right To Play as an Athlete Ambassador. As part of the announcement, Nurse hosted a hockey clinic for youth from the Alexander First Nation at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert, Alberta.
The clinic is also a chance for Nurse to help launch celebrations for the United Nations-recognized International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6, 2016. Using hockey as a tool to help develop essential life skills, the Oilers blueliner hit the ice with the kids, leading various drills and providing mentorship to the youth. He also took some time to sign autographs and pose for photos during the fun-filled learning experience.
“Growing up I was always playing with my siblings and today, being out there on the ice with all the kids from Alexander First Nation was a blast. It’s really important for them to play and have fun,” shared Nurse. “Joining the Right To Play team as an Athlete Ambassador is exciting for me and I’m looking forward to using the 'power of play’ to give back to the community and improve children’s lives here in Alberta and around the world.”
Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Reaching more than one million children through weekly sport and play activities, Right To Play works in more than 20 countries worldwide—including here in Canada. Active in 88 First Nations communities across Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program uses sport and play as tools to empower indigenous youth as leaders in their communities.
“We are so proud and grateful to welcome Darnell to Right To Play,” said Lori Smith, National Director of Right To Play Canada. “Play is such a powerful influence in a child’s life; it has the ability to improve education, open up lines of communication and foster the confidence and self-esteem a child needs to believe in a better future. And when children get the chance to meet a sporting hero like Darnell—to see that he cares about their well-being—it provides them with the hope and inspiration to reach their own potential.”
For more information on the Oilers involvement in the community, please visit oilersfoundation.ca. To learn more about to Right To Play Canada, please visit, righttoplay.ca.