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The Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation inaugurates first outdoor community rink

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – The Canadiens Children’s Foundation unveiled its BLEU, BLANC, BOUGE program with the inauguration of the first multipurpose community rink at parc François-Perrault in the Villeray ? Saint-Michel ? Parc Extension borough. To mark the official opening, some 50 children from the area took to the ice and skated alongside a few players from the Montreal Canadiens.

The artificial ice rink has been built according to NHL standards and dimensions (200 feet by 85 feet), with red and blue lines, just like the pros use. The Parc François-Perrault rink offers the flexibility necessary to accommodate the practice of other seasonal sports activities. The skating season will last from mid-November until the end of March, while various types of ball games, such as basketball or soccer, and other sports will take over for the spring, summer and fall months.  

“Two generations of hockey players took their first strides in this Montreal borough before later wearing the Montreal Canadiens jersey. Dickie Moore and Patrice Brisebois both grew up in this part of the city,” said Pierre Boivin, President of the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation. “The Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation is pleased that this community rink will provide more young people with a chance to play hockey outdoors and, more importantly, have fun while being active.”

The initiative is part of BLEU BLANC BOUGE, the Foundation’s flagship project with the objective of building five refrigerated outdoor multipurpose community rinks that can accommodate various sports activities in less privileged neighbourhoods in the greater Montreal area. Eager to provide high quality infrastructure, the Foundation works closely with Roustan United, a leader in the area of arena products and services, in the implementation of this type of playing surface. With this aim in view, the Foundation agreed to a five-year partnership with the FTQ (Fédération des travailleurs du Québec), the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, City of Montreal blue collars, FTQ construction workers and local entrepreneurs which contribute to the project by providing material and manpower.

“Our implication, along with our affiliates with the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation in this project, is a true reflection of the values of solidarity and cooperation that we promote. For the FTQ, this project clearly demonstrates what can be achieved when all parties involved team up for a good cause,” said FTQ President and Chairman of the Board of Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Michel Arsenault.

These community rinks are characterized as animated gathering areas for sports and physical activity that will provide kids from these backgrounds to discover the advantages of a healthy and physically active lifestyle. To ensure the success of this program, the Foundation teamed up with Québec en Forme to create a dynamic partnership and share 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 together with the Foundation in selecting the district and the community partners towards the development of an efficient activation of the facilities and to determine the impact of the program.
In its ongoing mission to promote a brighter future and better health for underprivileged kids in Quebec, the Foundation aims to encourage and foster a healthier lifestyle through physical activity and better nutrition.

“Québec en Forme is proud to have actively participated in the development of the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program and would like to emphasize in particular the importance of the implication and the vision of partnership of a leader such as the Club

de hockey Canadien and its Children’s Foundation in a project aimed at the development of communities,” indicated Jean-Marc Chouinard, Chairman of the Board of Québec en Forme. “Working together for the children and the communities embraces the values of our mission and our priorities.” 

As the first beneficiaries of the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program, the borough of Villeray ?  Saint-Michel ?  Parc-Extension is widely recognized for its well-established multi-ethnic makeup and its ability to actively mobilize its resources and create numerous local outreach projects with various members of the community.

“We are extremely pleased and privileged that the children of the Saint-Michel area were the first draft selection of the Montreal Canadiens for the construction of the first multipurpose community rink. We are very grateful to the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation for the wonderful gift that is this significant sports facility, which will be very beneficial to the children of this district throughout the year. We owe this acquisition to, among others, the vivacity and tremendous energy from the Saint-Michel community which demonstrated outstanding consultation and leadership abilities to bring the project to completion for the well-being of the residents,” said Mrs. Anie Samson, Mayor of the Villeray ? Saint-Michel ? Parc-Extension borough.

Over and above the infrastructure, the borough benefited from the generosity of Bauer Nike which donated 100 pairs of skates, helmets and sticks to create a bank of supplies to be able to fill the needs of various local organizations that work with children.

Bringing this type of ambitious project to life requires the support and involvement of numerous partners and collaborators. On behalf of the innumerable young people who will enjoy this new facility, the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation wishes to sincerely thank all those who contributed to this exciting project:

-    Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough;
-    Bauer Nike;
-    Construction QMD;
-    Fondation commémorative Gabriel Rossy;
-    Fondation Formes et Jeux;
-    Fondation Garnier Kids;
-    FTQ, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, FTQ Construction and their partners: Garnier Construction, Le Groupe Astra Coffrages, AGF, Pompes MEGA, Acier Bouchard, Commission de la construction du Québec, Complexe environnemental St-Michel, Échafaud Plus;
-    Local 301 – Syndicat des cols bleus regroupés de Montréal;
-    Location Dickie Moore;
-    Québec en Forme;
-    Roustan United;
-    Montreal Police Department  - North Region -  Police cadets
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