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RELEASE: Nurse partners with Free Play for Kids

Oilers defenceman announced as program ambassador to help provide marginalized kids with the opportunity to play sports

by Press Release / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) announced today Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse will partner with Free Play for Kids as a program ambassador.

Free Play's mission is to provide marginalized kids with the opportunity to play in a safe, accessible, and inclusive environment at no cost to them or their families. Free Play is a completely free after-school club for thousands of kids in need that partners with highly social vulnerable schools in Edmonton.

Most Free Play kids are refugees, newcomers, or Indigenous youth who cannot afford the "pay to play" model of sports or the high cost of childcare. Free Play closes gaps by combining sport, play and care, including equipment, registration, and transportation to and from the Free Play program, which takes place after school each day from 3:30 to 5:30.

As a Free Play ambassador, Nurse will lead the Captain of the Week program, which sees Free Play youth who have shown great behavior be awarded with the opportunity to come watch an Oilers game and meet Nurse. He will work closely with Free Play and the EOCF to build fundraising events, allowing kids to attend weekly sessions and develop the Darnell Nurse Young Leaders Scholarship. The scholarship will allow Free Play youth graduating high school to pursue post-secondary education.

"Darnell is exactly the kind of leader and ambassador that Free Play needs," said Tim Adams, Free Play Executive Director. "He will inspire a whole new generation of community leaders who truly reflect the values of our city, our country and the game of hockey. We are beyond excited to see Darnell with our kids and families."

The EOCF has contributed more than $200,000 to Free Play over the last two years, helping grow the hockey program. With the help of the EOCF, Free Play has introduced more than 1,000 kids to the game of hockey during that time. Oilers alumni Joaquin Gage and Shawn Belle are also involved in Free Play hockey programming.

"I am extremely excited to partner with Free Play as a program ambassador," said Nurse. "The work the Free Play program continues to do in the Edmonton community is remarkable and I am excited to share my love of hockey and help grow the sport with Edmonton's youth."

Net proceeds from the EOCF online 50/50 progressive jackpot for Oilers games on Nov. 23 and 24 will benefit Free Play and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, providing crucial funds needed to operate youth programs this winter.

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