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Nancy Barkwell inside the Wayne Flemming arena

Ted Barkwell Memorial Fund is lowering barriers

Ted Barkwell was a passionate believer in the benefits of sport and now his legacy fund is giving more kids a chance to play

November 29, 2023 — 

There are few activities more popular in the cold months of winter than skating. Across the city, it’s an activity that brings communities together on rinks, teams, and river trails. However, equipment costs can often be a significant hurdle for low-income families to participate in such a universal winter activity. Nancy Barkwell initiative like the Ted Barkwell Memorial Fund are helping break down those barriers.

Barkwell, daughter of Ted Barkwell, said the fund does more than allow someone to learn to skate. She said the fund’s goal has always been to enable kids to discover something they’re passionate about. At the University of Manitoba, the Ted Barkwell Memorial Fund helps children from lower-income families access Mini U’s Learn to Skate programs, lowering the program cost and helping the program purchase supplies, like extra helmets. 

Drew Sheffield, the Mini U and Junior Bisons program coordinator, said one hurdle has always been ensuring the child and their accompanying adult are appropriately equipped with skates and helmets to learn together safely. Many families are often in a situation where they must buy two sets of equipment. The Ted Barkwell Fund allowed Mini U to purchase helmets for anyone in need.

“Did that ever make a huge difference on the first day,” said Sheffield. “There were goose bumps amongst the staff because we could see shoulders drop and relax when we said we had people covered with extra equipment.”

Sheffield said it’s great to see families able to access not just any skating program but one that includes a full curriculum, lesson plans, and high-level instruction.

“Everyone should get to take the programs,” said Sheffield. “It’s a wonderful thing and makes you want to come to work every day.”

The fund began in 1995 by friends and family of Ted Barkwell, who wanted to create a legacy of Ted’s generosity. A lifelong participant in sports and activities, Nancy said Ted was a big believer in their life-long benefits.

“Playing with people and getting to know people, he really valued that,” said Barkwell. “Whatever it was, those relationships, the relationships in sport, really meant a lot.”

Barkwell said while Ted played various sports throughout his life, hockey was always his passion, and he always valued the relationships he formed on and off the ice around the activity. Barkwell said the family hopes the fund allows more kids to share the same passion Ted had for the community of sport.

“It’s not only offering them a skill but also developing relationships and having fun,” said Barkwell. “It really does capture his spirit.”

Over 300 Mini U participants have been helped in the last ten years thanks to the Ted Barkwell Fund.

All the Barkwell Family, Linda Murray ( Nee Barkwell ), Butch Barkwell, and Nancy Barkwell would like to thank all those who have contributed support in the past 25 years and welcome new supporters to continue this program.



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