When tragedy struck one of their own, the hockey community in Brampton came
Last December, Amy St. John, a 12-year-old goaltender for the U15 Brampton
Canadettes, was seriously injured when she was struck and dragged by a
school bus on her way to school.
Paramedics rushed her to Toronto Sick Kids Hospital, but she was
transferred to St. Mike’s Hospital due to the extent of her injuries. Amy
suffered a crushing injury to the back of her pelvis and significant nerve
damage to her left leg, and needed reconstructive surgery.
When Tina Kelloway, vice-president of the Brampton Canadettes Girls Hockey
Association (BCGHA), heard about Amy’s accident, she reached out to Amy’s
mom, Joelle, right away to see how the association could support the St.
“I was absolutely heartbroken and just thinking about it still makes me
want to cry,” Kelloway says. “I’ve known Amy for years as she came up
through our house league divisions and hockey was always a joy for her –
she adored playing and she always has a smile on her face when she came to
“I can’t begin to imagine the trauma Amy was going through and what her
family had to go through with her. It was such a horrendous event.”
Amy is the youngest of five children. With the accident, Joelle has been
unable to work in order to care for her daughter.
With the significant financial strain to the family, as well as the extent
of physiotherapy and care that Amy needed right after the accident and into
the future, the Canadettes quickly came together to figure out a way to
“Another mom and I started the fundraising page, but asked the league to
step in to help build awareness,” says Jill Hartling, the Canadettes team
manager. “The girls were shocked and devastated for what happened to Amy
and the team just wanted to jump on board and help her.”
Over the Christmas period, the team put together a gift basket with beauty
products and arts and craft materials for Amy to help life her spirits.
“Amy was home at the time when we dropped that basket off and it was nice
to talk with her and see how she was doing,” says Hartling. “The team
rallied around the St. John family and they were always thinking of Amy
The league previously held a fundraiser in 2018 for another player who
needed help after an accident and used that experience to build awareness
for Amy and her family. Every spring, the BCGHA holds its annual Easter
Tournament, which is one of the largest girls’ hockey tournaments in the
world. This year, it included 380 teams.
Through that tournament, the Canadettes held a silent auction with various
pieces of sports memorabilia, and shared Amy’s story to create awareness
“The majority of teams that participated in the tournament provided a
donation or silent auction bids,” says Kelloway. “The vast support we and
Amy received from the community was nice to see. We raised a lot of money
for Amy’s recovery through the silent auction and donations.”
Donations came in from players, teams and anonymous donors across the
Greater Toronto Area. Throughout the past few months, the league and the
family has felt the power of the hockey community.
“This has shown just how amazing the hockey world is. The hockey community
is incredible … how everyone comes together to rally to help others,”
Kelloway says. “It is overwhelming how generous teams, players and families
have been. You can see through the donations how supportive and encouraging
everyone has been towards someone they may have never interacted with
before. The generosity everyone has shown is incredible. After the last
couple of years with the pandemic, this story shows the positive and caring
side of community and that’s refreshing.”
While Amy has shown strength and determination in her recovery, her
prognosis is still unknown. Kelloway and the BCGHA are hoping the funds
raised will help the family in any way they need it.
In a written statement, Joelle shared how much everything has meant to her
and the family: “As a mother going through one the hardest times, I am
overwhelmed by the love and support of the Canadettes and how without
hesitation, they rallied around my kids and I. When you have a child
recovering from this type of accident, everything changes, and your child’s
recovery must take priority. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.”
The fundraiser for Amy St. John
is still ongoing and will remain open to donations.
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