“My parents supported my love of reading as a child and always purchased every book I requested. I can’t imagine a life without books – especially now that I am an English teacher and lucky to be surrounded by literature every day.”
This is Connecticut Whale defender Shannon Doyle, and the story of what inspired her to create #BlocksForBooks this season in the NWHL. Doyle launched the campaign by declaring her commitment to donate one dollar for every shot she blocks.
In the brief time since she tweeted about the initiative, many have stepped up to declare they would match or donate a flat amount. Contributors include Whale head coach Colton Orr, assistant coach Laura Brennan, teammates Sarah Hughson and Kayla Meneghin, former teammates Emily Fluke and Meeri Raisanen, youth hockey programs and literacy groups. Pride owner Miles Arnone donated, jokingly requesting that Doyle ease up on shot-blocking when the Whale plays Boston.
Every dollar will go to Room to Read, which partners with communities around the world to promote literacy and girls’ education.
“Growing up, I was either playing a sport or I was reading,” said Doyle. “Both of these outlets allowed me to grow intellectually, emotionally and physically into the person I am today. The thought of a child not having the ability to read because of financial constraints is heartbreaking to me. I wanted to use my love for hockey to support my love for reading, to unite these two pieces of my life into one powerful force for good. I know the hockey community is filled with generous, warm and thoughtful people, and the immense support I have gotten for this #BlocksForBooks initiative is proof.”
Doyle has set up a GoFundMe page. The defensive-minded defender, who has played every season of the NWHL after graduating from Boston University in 2015, is determined to block more shots than ever in a career defined by the art form.
“I wanted to make sure that the campaign actually raised money, which is why I couldn’t make this $1 for each of my goals,” Doyle said, laughing. “Blocks are my calling card and something that takes determination, courage and sacrifice. I hope it inspires people to support Room to Read. It is a beautiful thing to know that a dollar can give a child a book and change their life for the better.”