SHERBROOKE - The Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation unveiled its eighth outdoor multipurpose and refrigerated rink on Tuesday at park Alfred-Élie Dufresne in Sherbrooke as part of the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program presented by Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities (Jumpstart).
To mark the official opening, Canadiens Alumni who grew up in the Eastern Townships or played hockey in the area were on hand to skate alongside kids from Sherbrooke's Mont-Bellevue district.
"This eighth BLEU BLANC BOUGE community outdoor rink is part of our ongoing commitment to providing underprivileged kids with quality infrastructure to get physically active and enjoy various sports. We are very pleased to make this possible," said Canadiens owner, president and CEO Geoff Molson.
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 efforts in offering opportunities so kids in less privileged areas can enjoy the benefits of sports and physical activity.
"Community rinks like these give kids the chance to be more active and to develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills through organized sport. 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. "Every child should have a chance to play hockey or learn to skate regardless of their family's financial situation."
"The city of Sherbrooke is very grateful to have been awarded the first BLEU BLANC BOUGE rink outside the greater Montreal area. In promoting a physically active lifestyle and healthy habits among kids from disadvantaged sectors, this mobilizing initiative meets our desire to perpetuate the legacy of the recent Canada Summer Games held in Sherbrooke in 2013," said mayor of Sherbrooke, Bernard Sévigny.
The city of Sherbrooke promotes healthy lifestyles for local youth, offering several programs helping kids from underprivileged areas, such as Ascot en Santé, Comité Énergie Jeunes-Est and Alliance sherbrookoise des jeunes en santé. The new BLEU BLANC BOUGE rink helps the city offer better and more equitable access to a wide variety of resources.
The initiative is part of BLEU BLANC BOUGE, the Foundation's flagship project, with a total of eight ice rinks built to this day. The outdoor multipurpose and refrigerated community rinks are located in less privileged neighbourhoods, five in the Montreal area, a sixth one on Montreal's South Shore, in Longueuil, and one in Laval, on the North side. Committed to providing 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 eight 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 community programs and districts to implement the program at the facilities and assess the program's impact.
"Québec en Forme is pleased to have provided its expertise, resources, network towards the success of this initiative and to have been associated with the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program from the start. The community and multipurpose rinks built in less privileged sectors enable kids to be active on a daily basis while positively increasing the synergy between community partners," added Québec en Forme's general manager Eric Lamothe.