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Paying it forward

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

VERDUN – Hockey is the greatest game in the world, but it doesn’t come cheap. P.K. Subban knows that all too well.

That’s why Subban has teamed up with KidsSport, Hyundai, his father, Karl, and his brother, Malcolm, for the Hyundai Hockey Helpers program. The 23-year-old defenseman is hoping to make playing organized hockey a reality for as many families as possible.

“Thank you all for being here today for the launch of a community program that means a lot to me,” began Subban, practicing his French for the crowd. “I’m really honored that Hyundai asked my family and I to be spokesmen for this initiative.”

For the young blue-liner, making hockey affordable for kids who would otherwise be forced to watch from the sidelines hits close to home.

“When we were young, my brothers and I knew we wanted to play hockey. We knew it would take a lot of hard work. Growing up in a neighborhood like ours, there were a lot of distractions that could have been easy excuses, but we held onto our morals and values and kept our focus on the straight and narrow,” explained Subban, who credits his parents for making sacrifices to help keep the three brothers on the ice and out of trouble.

“We learned pretty quickly how tough it can be financially to be a hockey family. My first equipment came from all over; elbow pads from my cousins, shin pads from friends. When the other kids were showing up with $300 sticks, mine was the good old wood,” recalled the Rexdale, ON native. “We were out there selling chocolates and fundraising to help cover the costs of registration and equipment. It wasn’t easy. We were lucky to have organizations who could help make up the difference between what we could afford and what it actually cost to have three kids playing hockey.”

For starters, the program will help 1,000 Canadian children – including 265 in Quebec – cover the cost of playing hockey. Their families will receive gift certificates to purchase hockey equipment and their registration fees will be paid directly to their minor hockey associations.

In addition to those 1,000 children, others can benefit from the national gift program being launched by Hyundai across the country.

“I really believe that access to organized sports is crucial for every kid who wants to play,” stressed Subban, before skating off to play a little shinny with the two dozen novice, atom and pee-wee players in attendance.

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Shauna Denis.

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