Carter Bateman has gained valuable lessons from helping the less fortunate.
“I think it helps me to understand again how fortunate I am as a person,” says Bateman, male winner of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s (CSSHL) Male Humanitarian of the Year Award. “I get to see other peoples walks of life. See what they have to go through and what their struggles are.”
A defenceman with the Rink Hockey Academy (RHA), Bateman initially helped prepare and serve breakfast and lunch to those in need at a local mission during the Christmas break as part of a school initiative. Things have changed for the 17-year-old, who now feels it’s an obligation to give back as he feels fortunate to play for RHA. The Stonewall, Man., native feels good helping people.
Bateman also delivered food hampers around the community during the holidays. Experiencing that opened another window as he saw where people live and what they go through. He saw their struggles and it helped him to understand their situation. Bateman has also recently begun volunteering at a seniors home to help with meal prep and assisting with members of the lodge. Experiencing the loss of his grandparents a couple of years ago led to his wanting to help seniors, especially those who don’t have family nearby.
“Let them know that they are not alone,” says Bateman, who would like to reach 50 volunteer hours by the end of the school year. “I gain a moral compass. I find I am able to understand more of what life is like in the real world besides hockey. It prepares me for life.”
Bateman does this while balancing his RHA schedule and school, averaging 93 per cent on an accelerated path as he takes four classes instead of three. He also takes on extra team duties and is involved with hockey programs such as Learn to Skate, Intro to Hockey and Hockey Development programs. He helps his brother’s minor hockey team with fundraising. He likes lending a hand to assist younger players.
“I want to help them develop and try to be the best hockey players that they can,” he says.
Bateman’s coach, Rob Smith, describes him as selfless and says that teammates take notice of what he does.
“We don’t have to force him to do any of it. Sometimes kids, you create a schedule for them and they follow your schedule,” says Smith. “Carter goes and he looks for these things on his own, he takes initiative.
“He’s got steady stuff that he does. It’s not one and done. He wants to be involved,” Smith continued. “I didn’t know half of what he was doing until I talked to him. I knew what kind of kid he was.”
Smith likes to see kids with that maturity and emphasized that the RHA philosophy is that there is more to life than the game. Hockey is a very important piece to them, but there is more out there.
When asked about the award, Bateman says it is a big honour to receive it, especially because of the volunteer hours he puts in.
“I try to be the best person possible around the rink and outside my community,” he says. “I was pretty shocked at first. I have heard of some of the big things that people have to do to win it, especially considering what Andrew Hunt contributed to the world last year to earn this recognition. I guess just doing the little things is what it takes to get it.”