Inspiring Unity: Alec Bélanger’s Commitment to Community Shines On at Dalhousie
The Ontario Hockey League is dedicated to fostering the development of players, both on and off the ice, serving as a platform where young men mature into valuable contributors to the communities they represent. The Kingston Frontenacs, in particular, have been privileged to witness numerous players pass through their ranks, exemplifying a strong commitment to community service. Among these individuals, recently graduated Alec Bélanger truly embodies this commitment.
In his 185 career games with the Ottawa 67’s and Kingston Frontenacs, Alec Bélanger contributed with 30 goals and 53 assists, totaling 83 points. While his on-ice performance as a player and leader was commendable, it was Alec’s dedication to the community that truly endeared him to fans in both Kingston and Ottawa.
Alec’s unparalleled commitment to community work and his enthusiastic participation in events aimed at bringing joy to others set him apart. During his time in Kingston, Alec devoted himself to being involved in the community whenever he could. One incentive in particular that remained a mainstay for Alec was his volunteering with Extra Awesome, a student-run program. This initiative pairs youth with exceptionalities and their siblings with Queen’s students, offering academic support and engaging in physical activities to benefit Kingston youth with disabilities.
When speaking with Alec, he made it clear that being involved in a community was something embedded in him at an early age once he entered the OHL. “Being involved with the community all started at 16 years old when I was playing in the OHL,” Alec said when reflecting on his junior career. “It was made pretty clear to me by André Tourigny, my coach back in Ottawa, that the community was just as important as anything else. His influence on me as a coach is where all this started. Once I was traded to Kingston, I wanted to be as involved as I could be in the community. I have done a ton of community events, and none are more important than the other as they are all equal, but one that really stuck with me was being a part of Extra Awesome.”
Alec graduated from the Ontario Hockey League following the 2022-23 season. His last game wearing the Kingston Frontenacs uniform was on March 23, 2023, on the road against the Oshawa Generals. Since graduating, Alec has continued his hockey journey and education, joining the Dalhousie University Men’s Hockey Team in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Alec is in the midst of an outstanding rookie season. Through his first 18 USports games, he has scored 14 goals and has totaled 21 points. His goal mark places him as the 4th ranked scorer in the nation.
On the ice, Alec is having an impressive season. Off the ice, he is already making a positive impact on the Halifax and Dalhousie University community. Bélanger has taken the joy he experienced volunteering with Extra Awesome in Kingston and has spearheaded the creation of Extra Awesome Dalhousie University. The newly announced program will mirror the goals and mission of Extra Awesome at Queen’s University. Alec will be leading the charge while getting the program up and running at Dalhousie University.
“When I came to Dalhousie University, I knew I was going to be involved in the community. I wanted to be involved, I wanted to start something,” said Alec. “As I grow up in life, I want to be involved in things that I can be proud of. Once I arrived, I saw a need for a program like Kingston’s Extra Awesome at my university. I got a hold of Madison Cooper, who is a co-chair with Extra Awesome in Kingston and explained to her what I was looking to do. She was super receptive to the idea and she helped me form a plan to get Extra Awesome running at Dalhousie University. She has been incredible, and her expertise and knowledge has helped get this program to where it is now. We are thrilled to have the support of Halifax NS Down Syndrome Society, Dalhousie University, and the Varsity Department at the university.”
The inaugural session for Extra Awesome Dalhousie University will kick off on January 21st, 2024, and will run every Sunday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Studley Gym dance studio. Fans can follow along with the success of the program by following the Extra Awesome Dalhousie University’s Instagram page at @xtraawesomedalhousie.
“One thing I can promise about this program is that the volunteers of the program, which will be Dalhousie University students, will get as much out of the program as the participants. For that one hour a week, we’re going to help the participants grow and provide them with an opportunity to have some fun. Everyone is leaving every session with a smile on their face.
The Varsity Department at Dalhousie University has generously funded the inaugural year of Extra Awesome Dalhousie University. Alec credits Tim Maloney, who is the Executive Director, Athletics and Recreation at Dalhousie University for being a driving factor for getting the program approved. “Tim is a really awesome person and he was super excited about the program. He was a huge part of getting the program off the ground and running, and he deserves a lot of credit. It is great to have funding, and our goal is to continue to grow the program.”
Alec is already receiving a lot of support from his teammates and other members of the university’s varsity teams to get involved and be a part of the program. It was also mentioned with the program being on campus, it will make recruiting volunteers much easier, and there are already individuals expressing interest in helping out.
Alec also encourages Kingston Frontenacs fans to become involved with Extra Awesome at Queen’s University (@xtraawesome) as they are always looking for support. “I know that the Extra Awesome program in Kingston is always looking for support through fundraising events and awareness campaigns. Follow them on social media, be involved, and share the message that the youth and people living with exceptionalities are as amazing as anyone else in the world. There is no room in 2023 for people to be discriminated against.”
At the age of 21, Alec has transformed the lessons he acquired as a young man entering the OHL into something truly remarkable, enriching the lives of those he encounters. The entire Kingston Frontenacs family stands united in support of Alec, and our community takes immense pride in the positive community impact he is making at Dalhousie University. Well-deserved stick taps from us to him.