Written by Leah Perry
Avery Andrew, known to her friends and family as Ave, had a magnetic personality from the moment she was born; a natural leader with a competitive attitude and a contagious confidence; she inspired everyone who knew her.
Avery began her hockey career at the age of 4, finding a letter on her jersey almost every year until her final year of hockey as the captain of the Barrie Jr. Sharks. At the young age of 18, Avery died in a two-vehicle collision on New Year’s Day of 2018. The sudden passing of her inspiring spirit was felt deeply by her mom and dad, three sisters, friends, and teammates. As many girls experience from the strong bonds formed on the ice and in the dressing room, Avery’s sudden passing was a hard reality for the teammates she inspired.
“Avery to this day pushes me to be the best version of myself, and to play with as much grit and passion that she did. Every time I put on my helmet and step on that ice, I pray for her. My captain,” said Lily, a friend of Avery’s.
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This past Christmas, the Grindstone Team awoke to a donation made by Avery’s Grandma Bev. Getting to know Avery through the stories sent to us by her family and friends, the Grindstone team is honoured to be a recipient to what her grandma considered extending a helping hand in Avery’s memory.
“Ave was an amazing person, athlete and loved her hockey family,” noted Bev. “I donated to the Grindstone Award Foundation because it is something near and dear to Ave’s heart; helping less fortunate girls to have the opportunity to play hockey”.
Following the donation, the Grindstone team reached out to the Andrew family to better understand the amazing athlete and friend behind the donation, one that will allow other girls to follow in her footsteps. The kind words and sentiments that were sent from her family and friends were
overwhelming: a girl that would always stand for what she believed in, and one that never accepted losing. But one with a kind soul, empathic in nature and always brightened her teammates spirits with her laughter, dance, and humour in the dressing room.
“She had such a huge presence in the dressing room, during warm up, on the ice, after the game and everywhere in between,” said Missy, Avery’s friend.
Since Avery’s passing, her impact has been felt through numerous initiatives: the Avery Andrew Memorial Scholarship fund helps students entering the post-secondary academic world; the Avery Andrew Memorial Award is awarded to a member of the Junior Female Provincial Ball Hockey Team and the Avery Andrew Award is presented to the national Junior Player of the Year for Team Ontario.
Not only have her teammates and community rallied around continuing Avery’s impact; her mother, Kim, has begun to run workshops to teach young girls the importance of authenticity and confidence that Avery embodied. BrAvery 4 Girls is a series of empowerment workshops for girls to discover who they truly are, and to practice gratitude, creative goal setting, self-love, and confidence; all tactics and lessons Avery exemplified and advocated.
With a dreamcatcher above her bed, Avery was known as an avid vision board maker and list-lover. She leaves a legacy that will inspire many girls to pursue their hockey dreams.
“Hockey gave me my best friend,” said Jilly (Avery’s friend).
The Grindstone Award Foundation is honoured to be a part of supporting Avery’s dream to live on and provide girls who may otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience the confidence, grit, and friendships that hockey provides.
To learn more about how to donate to the Grindstone Award Foundation visit us at https://grindstoneaward.com/#fundraise. Your contribution does not have to be financial, the list of ideas on how you can help girls play hockey is endless and we are open to any other ideas you may have. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we would be happy to help get your ideas into action!