Will play hockey for food

Young entrepreneur takes on hunger in Canada

The Sochi Olympics have come to a close, but the memories will stay with us forever. Canada once again asserted its dominance in hockey and brought home gold. Canadians around the world rallied together in support of our Olympians, cheering them to victory. It was somewhat reminiscent of Canada’s performance in 2010 when people took to the streets in celebration. Remember how awesome that was?

6215.richard_loat_sign_webWell, in 2010 Richard Loat (@richardloat) was one of thousands of Canadians celebrating our Olympic hockey gold in Vancouver.  While the country was celebrating, Richard came to the powerful realization – hockey brings Canadians together.

“I would set up ball hockey games on Granville Street and I realized the power hockey had to bring the country together, and the potential it had to be a vehicle for social change, not only in Vancouver but across Canada” said Richard.

Richard decided to start Five Hole for Food (FHFF); a non-profit organization aimed at raising food and awareness for food banks all over Canada, by playing a simple game of street hockey.

The FHFF tour launched March 2010 in Montreal and worked its way west to Vancouver. Wherever they went, there was just one rule – if you want to play, you have to donate food or money for a local food bank. Richard and his FHFF team travelled over 6,000 kilometers by car in just 11 days, raising an incredible 6,000 pounds of food.

The FHFF tour has become an annual event, adding more cities and increasing fundraising targets year-over-year. With four tours complete, 2013 was the most successful year yet. FHFF played more than 54 hours of hockey, drove over 9,000 kilometres and raised over 345,160 pounds of food.

Since 2011, TELUS has proudly contributed $30,000 to the organization and supported the FHFF team’s technology needs, enabling the charity to share its stories throughout various social media platforms while traveling from coast-to-coast. Our TELUS Community Ambassadors have also been instrumental in lending a helping hand at local events.

FHFF is more than a charity – it’s become a movement for hockey lovers across Canada. The FHFF team began with Richard and five others, and has now grown to more than 50 volunteers all over the country.

“Our volunteer numbers have grown over the years due to social media,” said Richard. He’s never met most of the people who help with his cause; he just knew them through Twitter and Facebook.


Richard decided to take his passion for good and social media even further last September, launching Footy for Food (FFF) – applying the successful hockey model he created in Canada to soccer in the UK.

1269700_437616693015460_1612875325_oNow Richard is working on taking his sport for food concept globally and has structured his organizations like start-up businesses rather than charities.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, well I don’t believe in that. There is always a better way to do things,” says Richard. “I like to look at what my team and I do as charity 2.0, or philanthropic disruption.”

The 2014 tour is ramping up – join the movement by visiting Five Hole for Food and Footy for Food on Facebook and Twitter.

Shadi Sakr (@yourfate) is a Marketing Communications Manager – Digital and Social Media at TELUS.