Small but mighty, the team behind Buck-A-Puck for ALS doesn’t plan on backing down from their dream of hitting their $1 million fundraising goal. George Daly, Joshua Lopez, and Liam Muffitt may look like your average hockey-loving teenage boys, but they’re taking their passion for the sport one step further to change what it means to receive an ALS diagnosis. 

The three boys initially connected when they geared up to play for the Humber Valley Sharks U12 A hockey team in 2017, a local hockey team coached by George’s dad – fun-loving, loud, and extroverted Steve Daly. He worked the kids hard but always knew how to have fun and make them laugh.

The boys looked on as their beloved coach struggled with ALS symptoms

In September 2021, Steve was diagnosed with ALS. During their first practice that year, the kids noticed that Coach Steve was struggling to speak – his words were slurred, and it was hard for him to sip water without choking.  

Within a few weeks, their coach had completely lost his ability to speak. Despite his inability to talk, Steve continued to lace up his skates and join in practice each week using a voice-assist app on his phone. Even after Steve’s body no longer allowed him to return to the ice, he showed the perseverance he had always encouraged in his players. 

“Even after Steve got his diagnosis, he would still come on the ice with us and do the most he could,” says Joshua. “Steve taught us to never give up and always put our best effort in – to do it until we can’t, keep it classy, and try our best.” 

Coach Steve attended every game and practice, occupying the bench in silence, but a few months into the hockey season in January 2022, Steve passed away. 

Inspired to create change  

Buck-A-Puck for ALS was born to honour Coach Steve, driven by three boys and brought to fruition through the help of Joshua’s and Liam’s moms, Sarah Lopez and Heather Evans.  

Buck-A-Puck for ALS was a way to channel all the emotion experienced as Steve was challenged by the disease – to show the kids that there is always a way to help, even if it seems like there is nothing you can do,” Heather explains.  

Heather and Sarah knew that this effort was not only a way to support the Daly family during difficult times but to help their sons and the team navigate through their grief. “It became a way for them to process this experience, a way to talk about it, and a way to show Steve that they cared,” Sarah says.  

From humble beginnings come great things 

Originally a community event, Buck-A-Puck for ALS has developed into a nationwide, youth-led fundraising initiative with ALS Canada to spread awareness and raise money for ALS research with a $1 million goal.  

The concept is simple yet powerful: raise a buck, shoot a puck. “It’s in a fun and active way that people can shoot a puck for every dollar they’ve raised for ALS,” explains Sarah. ALS Canada Buck-A-Puck for ALS provides an interactive opportunity to raise money for change that anybody can take part in – at your local rink, on your driveway, or even at home with a mini stick. “The big picture is really to help raise money for ALS research – so even if you’re not a big hockey fan your donation still helps make an impact,” Liam says.  

Watching Coach Steve suffer was the hardest thing I’ve ever seen anyone go through in my life, and we all vowed to do something to change the future of ALS. If not a cure, we hope for a future where it is a livable disease,” Sarah explains. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ – that is the statement that drives me every day.”  

Fundraising for a cure  

Funds raised through Buck-A-Puck will go toward the best ALS research in Canada, supporting the group’s goal of changing what it means to live with ALS.  

“Steve modelled courage for the kids like I couldn’t imagine. If we can take all of who he was, what the Daly family embodies, and what the boys are doing and channel that into making a difference, we can make ALS a livable and better-understood disease,” says Heather. 

The Buck-A-Puck team is more than confident that they’ll be able to reach their goal of raising $1 million to support ALS research. Kicking off the initiative with an impressive first year, just shy of raising $100,000 in 2022 within a small Etobicoke community, the future of ALS Canada Buck-A-Puck for ALS and the impact it can have on the future of ALS is promising.  

“What we’ve already accomplished through Buck-A-Puck speaks to what can happen in the future – there is a lot of potential with what it can achieve to make a change,” Liam says.  

“Partnering with ALS Canada to continue Buck-A-Puck for ALS is a dream come true. It gives us a voice across Canada and the ability to expand our reach and get our message across to hockey players and fans nationwide,” explains Sarah. 

Now it’s your time to raise a buck and shoot a puck with Buck-A-Puck for ALS!  

Connect with your community, use your passion for hockey, join in the fight against ALS, register today and start fundraising. Be part of the team that scores a victory against ALS.  

Together, through each shot and each pledge, we can create a lasting impact in the fight against ALS. 

Interested in being part of Buck-A-Puck for ALS?

Raise a buck, shoot a puck!

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