REGINA -- For the second year in a row, Regina's Peewee B Rebels hockey team has been named a finalist in the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup, for their work in the community.

The team made into the top three in votes in 2020, however wasn’t selected as the winner of the $100,000 prize.

“We were all around the TV when they didn’t announce our name, I’m not gonna lie to you, you could see some long faces,” said Nathan Strueby, one of the coaches. “Talking with the girls, parents, community and the SuperHERO program, we just want to get the name out.” 

The group of under 13 girls are raising awareness and hoping to grow the SuperHEROS program. The hockey initiative aims to provide a safe and welcoming hockey environment for youth living with physical and cognitive challenges.

“We discovered there wasn’t a place to play for kids who were living with physical or cognitive challenges in Western Canada,” Kevin Hodgson, the Executive Director of HEROS, said.

Mila Snell is a member of the Rebels hockey team. Her older sister, Ava, plays hockey with the SuperHEROS chapter in Regina. Ava was the team’s inspiration to raise awareness and support for the SuperHEROS.

The Rebels saw Ava attend all of Mila’s games and in turn, wanted to cheer Ava on when she practiced with the SuperHEROS.

The Rebels are hoping if they win the Good Deeds Cup, they can help expand the SuperHEROS in Regina and across Canada. Regina currently has a waitlist for participants and many cities don’t offer hockey opportunities for children for cognitive challenges.

“The whole city and the whole province should be really, really proud of these girls and should be getting behind them,” Hodgson said.

What started as a single team in Calgary in 2018 has since grown to include SuperHEROS groups in Edmonton and Regina.

“It’s about giving this game to the kids who have been waiting. As one of the Rebels girls put it, the kids who have been left on the bench the whole time,” Hodgson said.

Last year, the Rebels were one of three finalists in the competition, however, they lost to the Northeast Eagles based out of Torbay, Newfoundland. Even though they didn’t win the competition, they kept advocating and supporting the SuperHEROS.

“When that contest ended they kept going, it didn’t change how hard they were working or what they were doing,” Hodgson said. “You couldn’t blame them if they said I’m not going to try again. They’re sticking their nose back in with a way bigger goal.”

Hodgson says the organization doesn’t accept volunteers over the age of 18. However, the group of U13’s didn’t take no for an answer.

"Ten and 11-year-old girls stared me down and said, listen we're going to be here every week cheering for Ava you might as well put us on the ice and let us help,” Hodgson said.

“It’s about giving this game to the kids who have been waiting. As one of the Rebels girls put it, the kids who have been left on the bench the whole time.”