Here in Canada, we take our hockey seriously. If a kid is so passionate about the sport that he practises his goalie moves for hours on a patch of ice not much bigger than a welcome mat, well, he ought to play on a team. That’s how 14-year-old Bailey Monteith felt, anyhow, when he saw a Facebook video of Markus Stewart skating on a frozen puddle outside his home in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The 25-second video shows Markus guarding an invisible net and lunging to save imaginary pucks in very real, full-on goalie gear. By the time the CBC shared Markus’s story, his cutie clip had been watched more than 300,000 times. Four days later, it’s at well over half a million views.
The CBC interviewed Markus’s mom and reported that the family, which has five kids, found it a tad financially intimidating to sign everyone up for hockey. (A follow-up story explained that since Markus has epilepsy and has been advised to avoid full-contact sports, joining a hockey team would have meant shelling out for steep fees just to “sit on the bench and… play a little bit.”)
Bailey, who’s as smitten with hockey as Markus, felt driven to help. He started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for registration fees or even a session of goalie camp, noting: “Affordability shouldn’t stop a kid from his or her dreams.” Bailey, who lives in Kamloops, B.C., and has been playing on hockey teams since he was five, told the CBC he wanted Markus to have that same opportunity: “Markus hasn’t had a chance to feel that yet, and I want to give him a chance to feel it.”
The crowdfunding page reached half its $2,000 goal in just half a day, and almost topped $3,500 two days later. That should be more than enough to cover Markus’s ice time. “Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity!” Bailey wrote on the page yesterday. “This experience has been one we will never forget and hopefully inspires others to work hard, practise every chance you get and never abandon a dream.”