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Growing the game

Learn to Play participants hit the ice at the Bell Centre on Sunday

by Montreal Canadiens @canadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - After working their way through on-ice instruction sessions during the season, young participants in the Learn to Play program got to put their newly-honed skills to the test at the Bell Centre on Sunday.

In partnership with and through the support of local minor hockey federations throughout the region, the program allowed 301 kids from Brossard, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Laval, Beaconsfield and Montreal to take their first strides towards eventually suiting up to play organized hockey.

Under the watchful eyes of Habs alums Francis Bouillon, Gaston Gingras, and Gilbert Delorme, the young pupils have taken part in six on-ice sessions, learning hockey basics from some of the best. On Sunday, they laced up their skates for one final session together - joined by Youppi! - this time on the Canadiens' home ice.

In addition to getting a chance to take part in practices with top-tier coaches, each child also skated away with a full set of brand new CCM gear to help get them started in their minor hockey careers. Following a successful first season of the program, the NHL and Canadiens are already looking ahead to bring the program back for a second year in 2017-18.

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