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Terron Falk, centre, chairman of HEROS, gathers for a photograph with program participants clockwise from lower left, Shae Terry, 13, Jaden Terry, 11, Jaden Jugovich, 13, E.J. Johnson-Taylor, 11, Justice Lavallee-Bird, 12, and Jesse Johnson-Taylor, 9, during a practice in Vancouver.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

The donors: Terron Falk and Norm Flynn

The gift: Creating HEROS, Hockey Education Reaching Out Society

The reason: To provide life skills programs for at-risk young people

Story continues below advertisement

Several years ago, Terron Falk was talking with his friend Norm Flynn about his experiences at a hockey program while growing up when Mr. Flynn came up with a suggestion.

"He said, 'I've got this great idea. I just need some money,'" recalled Mr. Falk, a portfolio manager at CIBC Wood Gundy in Vancouver.

That conversation led to the creation of HEROS, the Hockey Education Reaching Out Society. The program provides equipment, ice time, coaching, mentors, educational training and internships.

HEROS works with local social agencies to identify potential participants, and it has expanded to 16 rinks in eight cities across Canada. Mr. Falk and a team of volunteers raise about $800,000 annually to cover the costs.

This week, one HEROS participant, 18-year-old Nick McCurdy, will be in Washington to receive a $26,000 (U.S.) scholarship from the NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Mr. McCurdy will use the money to study kinesiology at the University of Calgary.

HEROS "has been pretty transformational for me," Mr. Falk said. "It affects my life on a daily basis."

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