A national charity is on an eight-city tour across the country collecting new and used skates and hockey equipment to give financially strapped families a chance to get their kids in on the game.

Hockey is an expensive sport and for many families the cost of equipment, ice fees and team uniforms is just unaffordable.

Skate to Great was founded in 2012 with the goal of giving all kids a chance to lace up a pair of skates and enjoy one of Canada’s most popular past times.

The charity has handed out over 25,000 pairs of skates to date and about 6,000 pairs were donated by Albertans.

The organization is run primarily by volunteers and has partnered with FedEx to ship the donations to organizations that need them.

Russell Gillespie is the General Manager of Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank in Calgary and says the donations really do make a difference.

“The need is great, there’s some families that are having a little bit of a tough time economically this year, whether it's job loss or going maybe down to one income coming in for a family. You never know what the circumstances are, but we don't question them too much, if they've been qualified to come see us we hook them up with some equipment and just get them back in the game and feel like life is normal,” said Gillespie.

Skate to Great is gathering skates, sticks, helmets and other equipment from April 19 to May 31 and Calgarians can drop off donations at FedEx Express, located at 24 Aero Drive N.E.

For more information on the Skate to Great #DonateSkates tour, click HERE.