03/18/2014 10:45 EDT | Updated 05/18/2014 05:59 EDT

Saskatoon man's Hockey in the Himalayas bring Canadian game to Indian kids

SASKATOON - A group of children in northern India now have new hockey gear, thanks to a charity started by a Saskatchewan man.

Andrew Wahba's Hockey in the Himalayas project was launched last year; he recently got back from delivering all the equipment.

The drive collected 80 pairs of skates, 30 helmets, 80 pairs of gloves and more than 100 hockey sticks.

Wahba said the kids in the Ladakh region of India, near the Himalayas, were thrilled to receive the new equipment.

One boy thanked him "a thousand times" for delivering skates that were big enough for him.

The children themselves built a rink by hand at the local campus of the Student's Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh.

"The kids take turns flooding it which means getting five gallon pails of water," said Wahba. "It's amazing how hard they work to create and then maintain this ice."

The ice surface only lasts about six weeks of the year, but Wahba said youngsters in the area love hockey and have been playing with old equipment for years.

"The kids said this stuff is going to be used for 15-20 years and you can tell because the equipment that they have there now is old and it has been used a lot," he said.

Wahba's project was done through the True Travellers Society, a not-for-profit organization in Saskatchewan that connects people with global volunteer opportunities.

Wahba got the idea to create Hockey in the Himalayas after one of his friends helped coach hockey in India and received an email asking if anyone in Canada could bring hockey equipment over.