REGINA -- Nearly $4,000 worth of bottles were stolen last week, after they were collected by the Pense Grand Coulee Minor Hockey Association.

Mayor of Grand Coulee, Wally Botkin, and his two children were part of the group collecting bottles. On Friday, when he went to pick up the bags of bottles collected, he said the trailer full of the bags was gone.

“The kids were really upset that this had happened. They couldn’t understand why somebody would take their cans that they had worked so far for,” Botkin said. “It was really devastating for a lot of them.”

“I know it’s a big fundraiser for the hockey team, and it’s very unfortunate because they spent all day last weekend collecting bottles. All their hard work and donations are gone,” said Virginia Emery, a parent who lives in Grand Coulee.

The annual bottle drive raises money to help cover the costs of the association. Without those funds, families will likely have to pay more to play minor hockey.

“It's unfortunate, because minor hockey is such a big part (of) growing up in Canada,” said Logan Darling, a Grand Coulee resident who used to play minor hockey. “Those fundraisers help cut down on cost with ice time. So, obviously, it's probably going to cost parents a little bit more.”

But, there is a silver lining for the community. After the hockey association posted about the theft on its Facebook page, hundreds of people across Saskatchewan have reached out to help.

Regina’s Pure Country set up a bottle drive to support the hockey association. You can bring bottles to 4303 South Albert Street, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help recoup the financial loss

“I want (the kids) to see is that, just because something negative happens to you, doesn't mean it has to remain a negative. Things can turn around, and negatives can become positives,” Botkin said.

The association said the stolen trailer carrying the bottles is a duel axle 2011 Rainbow Dump Trailer with the license plate number ‘681 LNL.’ Botkin said the theft has been reported to the RCMP.