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The Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation inaugurates its sixth outdoor BLEU BLANC BOUGE rink

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

LONGUEUIL – As part of its BLEU BLANC BOUGE program launched back in September 2008, the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation alongside presenting sponsor Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities (Jumpstart), unveiled its sixth outdoor multipurpose and refrigerated community rink at Lionel Groulx Park, in the city of Longueuil. To mark the official opening, children from the area took to the ice and skated alongside players from the Canadiens and team mascot Youppi !

A dedicated partner with strong ties to local communities, Jumpstart became the presenting sponsor of the BLEU BLANC BOUGE programme since the start of the 2014-15 NHL season. A long-time supporter of initiatives aimed at helping our youth, Canadian Tire, on behalf of Jumpstart, has made a financial contribution to the programme so that kids living in underprivileged areas can enjoy the benefits of sporting activities.

“The construction of the 6th BLEU BLANC BOUGE community rink is an important milestone for the Foundation. It’s another step towards the implementation of this type of quality multipurpose infrastructure in other underprivileged areas outside the Island of Montreal. It also provides the city of Longueuil with an additional playground where children will discover and enjoy the benefits of healthy habits throughout the year,” said Geoff Molson, owner, president and CEO of the Montreal Canadiens.

“By participating in sport and physical activity kids gain confidence, learn leadership skills and, most importantly, get to have fun. Every child, regardless of their household income, should have the chance to play and we’re proud to partner with the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation on the BLEU BLANC BOUGE initiative,” said Landon French, Executive Director, Jumpstart Charities.

“Without a doubt this BLEU BLANC BOUGE rink will have a major impact on promoting sport and physical activity to among children of the city of Longueuil. Not only will residents of this municipality benefit from a new playground to practice sports and be active, but it will be conducive in having them discover our roots when it comes to our game. We are grateful to the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation and the Montreal Canadiens for selecting Longueuil to carry on its mandate,” said Caroline St-Hilaire, Mayor of Longueuil.

The initiative is part of BLEU BLANC BOUGE, the Foundation’s flagship project whose objective was to build five outdoor multipurpose and refrigerated community rinks for various sporting activities in less privileged neighbourhoods in the Montreal area. Today, this rink in the Lionel Groulx Park is the sixth structure of its kind to be built by the Foundation outside the Island of Montreal. 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.

Built in accordance with NHL standards and dimensions (200 feet by 85 feet), the artificial ice rink features ice quality that meets the highest professional rinks standards. Located in Lionel Groulx Park, the new facility offers the flexibility necessary for 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.

All six community rinks are vibrant gathering areas for sports and physical activity that provide youth from these backgrounds a unique opportunity to discover the advantages of 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.

“For the sixth straight year, Québec en Forme is proud to team up with the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation working together towards advancing the BLEU BLANC BOUGE programme further. We believe that such initiatives contribute to create environments that are conducive to a healthy lifestyle among children growing up in disadvantaged areas. It is our hope that children and the neighborhood schools will see this new playground as unique stage for sports that will entice everyone to play along and have a good time while being active. These are values essential to all of us at Québec en Forme,” said General Manager Julie Dostaler.

The city of Longueuil has embraced the concept of healthy habits for underprivileged youth in cooperation with various partners from the community, local schools and sports associations. In this perspective, the city of Longueuil has adopted a long-term Strategic Development Plan that will promote and encourage physical activity, sports and a healthy lifestyle.

About the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation

The Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation provides help and support to children in need. Since its inception in August 2000, the Foundation has donated upwards of $16 million to more than 500 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 and eating better.

About Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities

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 892,000 Canadian kids and counting to get in the game since 2005.

Follow Jumpstart on Twitter and Facebook to learn about how the charity is giving kids across Canada a sporting chance.

OBSERVATIONS

A study by Groupe de recherches sur les espaces festifs for Québec en Forme to measure the overall impact the new rinks have on the lives of neighborhood residents showed that since the implementation of the facilities some 73% of kids engaged in skating while 63% of kids like their neighborhood more since the rinks were built.

Also, 80% of residing adults take their kids skating and that 79% of them indicated that the building those rinks provided them with an opportunity to spend more time with members of the family.

As of 2012, at the time of the report, users of the BLEU BLANC BOUGE rink had reached 100,000 people.

Observations found in the 2012 report showed that the Montreal North BLEU BLANC BOUGE rink was used by at least one school every single available day during the school schedule.

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