Chris Stewart can't imagine where he would be if he had stuck to his resolve to quit hockey, but he knows it wouldn't be a good place.
Stewart, 27, loved the game from the time he started playing, when he was 4 years old. He'd trail after his older brother, Anthony, and their father, Norman, a Jamaican immigrant, as they walked to Anthony's practices because they couldn't afford a car or bus fare.
But recognizing the heavy burden on the family's finances — and experiencing a bout of teenage rebellion after Anthony left home to advance his career — Chris gave up hockey for football at 16.
"For that little bit of money that my parents were making, I wasn't going to...