Battle of Alberta's big winner? Local children's charities

Children in Edmonton and beyond will be the winners in the Battle of Alberta. The team has announced that proceeds from the Mega 50/50 jackpot in Round 2 will benefit the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, which supports kids sport charities in the community.

The foundation has donated over $66 million to more than 2,900 charities in northern Alberta since it was founded in 2001.

Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters is one of those charities. The organization provides free after-school programming and mentorships for thousands of Edmonton children.

“The opportunity for kids to find after school programming at times can be very difficult, especially finding free programming,” said Ian Amundson of BGCBigs. “The reality is, kids spend 60, 67 hours a week outside of school with free time, that’s more time than they are within school, so having a safe space for them to come and participate is incredibly important.”

Amundson says they rely on organizations like the Oilers Community Foundation to keep their programming running, and the need is great.

“There’s enough children living in poverty in the City of Edmonton that can fill Rogers Place two and a half times. Being able to have access to that kind of programming, to have the ability to have a constructive, supervised space for children, with supportive relationships with adults and their peers is incredibly important.”

Tickets for the first Mega 50/50 of Round 2 went on sale May 15 and can be purchased online until May 24.

And 50/50 lotteries aren’t the only way you can support children’s charities during the playoffs. United Sport and Cycle is also raising money and collecting used sports equipment for kids.

The Edmonton shop has decked out an old van with Flames logos, and Oilers fans can take a shot at it for a donation.

“It’s a fun idea, and lots has been made already about how heated the series is going to be, so for Oilers fans to take a few slapshots at the Flames, bus I thought would be a great opportunity,” said Kelly Hodgson of United Cycle.

He’s hoping to fill a trailer full of used equipment, which will be donated to Sports Central.

“They refurbish used sporting equipment and give it to kids in need. So over the last 25 plus years, they’ve given over 6,000 pieces of equipment out into the community, and almost 3,000 bicycles.”

The idea has been a winner with fans.

“It’s pretty fun. Cool way to turn a battle into a battle,” said Jordan Woodruff, who took a few shots on Wednesday.

“Takes a little aggression, gets your skills out.”

He’s hoping to see his team pull out a win in the first game against Calgary.

“We definitely can if we play like we did in games two, three, six, and seven in the first round. Definitely we’ll come out on top.”

Amundson is hopeful too.

“Their charitable contribution by winning helps support a number of different charitable organizations and agencies, so go Oilers go!”