Volunteers gives youth a chance to lace on the blades

When the children from Saint Brigid Catholic School line up in the hallway at the East York Arena, they can thank Angelo Moutoulas for the day’s winter class skating trip.

“I love the community. I love being at the rink,” Moutoulas said. “Whenever you can do something positive, do it.”

For several years now, Angelo Moutoulas and his son George, at The Real Edge Pro Shop, have volunteered their time and talent to Saint Brigid as skate-sharpeners. All to the delight of teacher Dennis Moulds. The winter skating trips were easy to arrange, but many of the students didn’t have their own skates.

So, with the help of a few teachers, parents and the East York community, the school was able to collect used skates fairly quickly and ship them off to Moutoulas for his expert touch.

“(Moutoulas) arranges for a hockey bag full our skates to be sharpened and (he has always) refused to accept any payment,” Moulds said.

Moutoulas’s services are valued in the hundreds of dollars, according to Moulds.

With school and government budget cuts increasing annually, volunteers have become more of an asset to many neighbourhoods across the GTA.

“I realized years ago that if the volunteers don’t exist, there really (aren’t) many people there to help out in the community,” Moutoulas said.

But Moutoulas also understands the bigger picture of his efforts when working with youth.

“When you are young and people volunteer to spend time helping you develop, it makes a difference,” Moutoulas said.

The East York Arena originated in the early 1950s thanks to the “dedication and hard work of many volunteers,” according to the arena’s webpage. Sixty-years-plus later, according teacher Moulds, this still holds true.

“Many people put in the time for the good of the kids and the community,” Moulds said

Many of the kids, whose skates Moutoulas has sharpened over the years at East York Arena, continue to come back and get them done by him.

“They still come back and get their skates done at East York, and still say their thank-yous and be appreciative of that,” Moutoulas said.

Whether he’s helping out with the Janet Davis skate, proving some sort of gift baskets, or sharpening skates for the children at Saint Brigid, Moutoulas recognizes a common thread.

“Many people … go unnoticed in the community for the work they do,” Moutoulas said.