Skip to content

Broken sticks turn into environmental sustainability program for Belleville Sens

May 12, 2023

Ask any equipment manager, and they will tell you a broken stick is a significant point of contention. Over the course of a season, many sticks are shattered and fragmented, and while few people think of the loss of materials involved, the Belleville Senators have found a sustainable way to address this issue. They have chosen a sustainable method of replacing some of the loss from this inevitable consequence of operating an American Hockey League club.

As part of their “Break-A-Stick, Plant-A-Tree” initiative, the Senators, in conjunction with Quinte Conservation and student volunteers from St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School, were able to plant a total of 250 trees and shrubs in a 6,888 square metre area of Riverside Park in Belleville, located on the east side of the Moira River, across the road from CAA Arena.

David Bell
Photo Credit: David Foot/Belleville Senators

While sticks are now made of composite materials, the initiative harkens back to when sticks were still made of wood, and the project helps beautify and restore the ecosystem. Quinte Conservation, Outreach & Stewardship Coordinator Maya Navrot touched on the importance of the program.

“Our goal here today is to restore a buffer along the shoreline. At Quinte, Conservation Water Protection Agency, we’re looking at ways to help protect water and slow and reduce the impacts of flooding. So we know when we put vegetation, trees, and shrubs back on the landscape, they help to do all of those things as well as protect water sources.”

“We are restoring this entire area with 250 native trees and shrubs that will slow runoff and help us absorb it into the ground. They act very much like sponges. They filter contaminants out of the water to keep the Moira River and our Bay of Quinte cleaner. As they grow, they’ll shade the area and over the water, which improves the habitat for all sorts of fish and wildlife. On top of that, many of these species will produce flowers to support pollinators and berries to support birds, their host plants for all sorts of butterflies. So it’ll also help to enrich our local ecosystem.”

While equipment damage will always present itself in professional hockey, the Senators will continue designing programs to help offset these losses and benefit their community. The success of the initiative has everyone excited for the future, although players might like to break fewer sticks. Belleville Senators Senior Vice President of Business Operations, Breanne Matthews, is excited about the continuation of the program.

“It’s been a wonderful project from start to finish. We’re super excited to continue it for next year,” said Belleville Sens Senior Vice President of Business Operations, Breanne Matthews.”A business of our magnitude must always be aware of our environmental impact. Partnering with Quinte Conservation has allowed us to continue a meaningful conversation with our fans about the environment.”