Grindstone Difference Maker Award: Haley Rath

Written by Sam Sgro

(August 9, 2022)

One word comes to mind when discussing Grindstone Award Foundation Board member Haley Rath: passionate.

Rath has had quite the journey thus far with Grindstone. Currently, she is a Board member and the charity’s Events Lead. This means she “oversees and organizes all events that Grindstone attends or hosts. Rath has been with Grindstone since 2019 and has taken on many roles within the organization, having started as an intern. Her work has touched on almost every department within Grindstone, and she was instrumental in keeping the charity active during a large change in personnel in 2019 as well as during the pandemic. One could say that Rath has been the “Jill of all trades” for Grindstone, which she considers to be a fulfilling part of her journey.

It is an understatement to say that Rath loves hockey. Hockey is in her blood. She is a massive Leaf fan, so much so that her cat when she was a kid was named after one of the great Leaf goaltenders Felix Potvin. Every Saturday night, she would watch Hockey Night in Canada and begged her parents to sign her up for hockey, and she got her start at five years old. She has spent the last 20+ years in the game, whether it be playing, coaching, organizing tournaments, working game day operations, and most importantly, “volunteering my time to the sport that gave me everything”.

Rath speaks very highly of what hockey means to her and the importance it has had on her life. She feels it has taught her the most constant thing in life “always another game to be played or a practice to be had.” It has taught her many valuable life lessons like leadership skills and how to lose gracefully.

It’s given her a competitive edge (and an outlet for it) while also teaching her how to enjoy the game. It has given her some of her closest friends, common ground with her siblings growing up, and it’s where she met her significant other.

“Every teammate, every coach (even the bad ones), and every hockey parent has helped me along the way in this sport one way or another and I can’t thank them enough,” says Rath.

Hockey is both Rath’s passion and her career. She currently works at a well-known hockey store in Toronto and is part of the development program for the Etobicoke Dolphins girl’s hockey league, on ice as a goalie coach and off ice as the house league development coordinator. She hopes to take her talents back into women’s hockey soon as her favourite job has been running game day operations for the Toronto Furies of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Rath’s reason for donating her time to Grindstone is deeply personal. She remembers having the conversations with her family every year around “can we afford for you to play hockey this year?” Knowing the critical role hockey has played in her own life, Rath can’t imagine having to give up the sport due to financial constraints, and she is driven to grow Grindstone to ensure that no family ever has to have that conversation with their children. She wants to ensure that Grindstone reaches every corner of Canada so that people can turn to the charity for help.

“What Grindstone does is amazing and I’m honoured to be part of it,” says Rath. “I can’t wait to see how big this little dream can get.”

For all of her hard work, dedication, and commitment to Grindstone, we are honoured to announce Haley Rath as a recipient of the Grindstone Difference Maker Award for 2022! Thank you, Haley, for your passion and dedication towards Grindstone and the game of hockey!

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Grindstone Difference Maker Award: Laura Oliver