LAVAL – The Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation unveiled Monday its seventh outdoor multipurpose and refrigerated community rink at Parc Émile, in Laval, as part of the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program,presented by Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities (Jumpstart).
To mark the official opening, a group of 40 children from Léon-Guilbault Elementary School took to the ice and were joined by the Montreal Canadiens players. The team used this opportunity to hold a team practice on the new rink.
"Physical activity is key to the development of our youth and this seventh rink, here in Laval, will provide this community and its children with a place to come together, be active and have fun year-round’’, said Geoff Molson, owner, president and CEO of the Montreal Canadiens.
As a long-time supporter of helping kids from financially disadvantaged families get in the game, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities was named presenting sponsor of the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program at the start of the 2014-15 NHL season.
Through its annual contribution of $230,000, Jumpstart joins the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation’s efforts in offering opportunities so kids in underprivileged areas can enjoy the benefits of sports and physical activity.
"All kids should have the chance to play hockey regardless of their family's financial situation. We're proud to partner with the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation on the BLEU BLANC BOUGE initiative to get more kids into the game," said Landon French, President of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. "Rinks like these give kids the chance to be more active and to develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills through organized sport."
"We must thank the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation and the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. They each made commitments to the city of Laval to encourage our youth to be more active which must be recognized. From the first days of our mandate, we have said that physical activity should be a priority to improve the health of our citizens. This first BLEU BLANC BOUGE rink in Laval illustrates perfectly our will to do so,’’ said Marc Demers, Mayor of Laval. The construction of this BLEU BLANC BOUGE rink is in line with many of the city’s strategies such as making quality sports and recreational facilities and positive surroundings available to all residents throughout the territory.
The initiative is part of BLEU BLANC BOUGE, the Foundation’s flagship project, with six other ice rinks built to this day. The outdoor multipurpose community rinks are located in financially disadvantaged neighbourhoods, five in the Montreal area, the sixth one in Longueuil. Eager to provide high quality infrastructures, the Foundation works closely with a vast array of local entrepreneurs and experts in various fields, such as Cimco Refrigeration, a Montreal firm which specializes in process cooling and recreational refrigeration.
All seven community rinks are vibrant gathering areas for sports and physical activity that provide youth from these backgrounds a unique opportunity to discover a healthy and physically active lifestyle. To ensure the success of this program, the Foundation formed a dynamic partnership with Québec en Forme, sharing the ultimate goal of improving the health of children living in underprivileged areas. As an organization promoting the well-being of children, Québec en Forme works closely with the Foundation in selecting district and community partners to implement the program at the facilities and assess the impact of the program.
"Québec en Forme is proud to contribute with its expertise, resources and network and to partner with the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program since its inception. These multipurpose rinks built in financially disadvantaged neighbourhoods not only allow our youth to be more active but also increases the synergy and strengthens teamwork between community partners. I am confident that partners of the Marigot en Forme collective will succeed in taking on the challenge of promoting the rink and its animation opportunities to local schools and community organizations,’’ said Julie Dostaler, Director of Québec en Forme.
Built according to NHL standards and dimensions (200 feet by 85 feet), the artificial ice rink features ice quality that meets the highest professional rink standards. Located in Parc Émile, the new facility offers flexibility to the practice of other seasonal activities. The skating season, from the end of November until mid-March, will be followed by various types of ball games, such as soccer, in-line hockey and a variety of different sporting activities in the spring, summer and fall months. The new infrastructure comes with a donation of 100 pairs of skates, 100 helmets and 100 hockey sticks for children to borrow to skate.
About the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation
The Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation, who celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2015, provides help and support to children in need. The Foundation encourages physical activity and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle among disadvantaged youth from 4 to 17 years old. Since its inception in August 2000, the Foundation has donated upwards of $18 million to more than 630 charitable endeavors from across the province of Quebec who work for the well-being of underprivileged children.
The Foundation fulfills its mandate in two ways: first, through a unique flagship project – the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program - which consists of building community refrigerated and multisport rinks, secondly by providing financial support to organizations whose projects and programs allow children to adopt healthy lifestyles by being more active.
About Canadian Tire Jumpstart
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity dedicated to providing kids from low income families with the opportunity to experience the benefits of organized sports and physical activities. With an extensive, national network of more than 330 local chapters, Jumpstart helps kids in communities across Canada by assisting with the costs associated with registration, equipment and/or transportation. Supported by the Canadian Tire Family of Companies, which includes Canadian Tire, PartSource, Gas+, Sport Chek, Atmosphere, National Sports, Sports Experts, Mark's and Canadian Tire Financial Services, Jumpstart has enabled more than one million Canadian kids and counting to get in the game since 2005.
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