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Canucks players and families build a new playground for Edmonds Community School

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Burnaby, B.C. – Manny Malhotra, Dan Hamhuis, and their families, in partnership with the Canucks for Kids Fund, Burnaby School District, and Habitat Systems Inc., have come together to provide a brand-new primary playground to Edmonds Community School in Burnaby, BC. Having spear-headed similar projects in their other NHL cities, Malhotra and Hamhuis wanted to make a difference in a local community here in the Lower Mainland as well.

“When we learned about Edmonds Community School we knew right away it would be a perfect fit for what we had in mind,” says Malhotra. “Then once we met with the staff and got to know the specific stories, my wife and I became very excited to be a part of this project and help get the playground built as soon as possible.”

“My wife and I truly believe in the spirit of giving,” says Hamhuis. “It is a privilege to play hockey and live in this city, so it is important for us to touch those around us in a positive way. We know for certain the students at Edmonds will benefit from their new playground.”

On Friday October 7, 2011, Malhotra, Hamhuis, and their families, along with teammates Daniel Sedin and Cory Schneider spent the day installing the playground on-site at Edmonds. The day kicked off with a school-wide assembly where the students and teachers extended their appreciation for their new playground and touched on the importance of play.

“It is on the playground where our students make their first friends and learn their first new word in English,” explains David Starr, Principal at Edmonds Community School. “It is also on the playground that our students learn the basics of good citizenship. They learn to take turns, to share, to work together and to solve problems peacefully. It’s where children learn that laughter sounds the same in every language.”

Edmonds Community School has a culturally diverse student population that represents more than 48 countries world-wide. Of its 330 students, approximately 35% are children of refugee families who fled to Canada in search of a better life from countries such as Sudan, Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan. As such, Edmonds Community School acts as a local gathering place, providing an on-site food bank, clothing bank, free literacy and life-skills classes for the adults, and many more services for the families at the school.

“The Edmonds neighbourhood is a place of hope,” says Starr. “It is a place where people from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe can come together in peace and build a new life for themselves and their children.”

The Canucks for Kids Fund, the Burnaby School District and Habitat Systems Inc. are also generous partners in the project. The Canucks for Kids Fund has donated more than $36 million to BC children’s charities over the past 25 years, including granting more than $4.4 million during the 2010/2011 season alone. The Canucks for Kids Fund is dedicated to supporting children’s charities in the area of health & wellness, grassroots hockey, and public education, including playing a key role in creating and sustaining Canucks Autism Network, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, the Canucks Family Education Centre, and the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey, among others.

“The Canucks for Kids Fund is excited to support the Malhotra and Hamhuis families on this amazing project,” says Paolo Aquilini, President of the Canucks for Kids Fund. “Edmonds Community School is an important part of its local community serving the many families and children who live there and ensuring equity of opportunity for all.”

Burnaby School District operates 41 elementary schools (including eight community schools) and eight secondary schools. The District offers numerous specialized programs including Community & Continuing Education, International Education, French Immersion, Burnaby Online, Soccer Academy, Hockey Academy and Learning Through the Arts. Served by more than 4,000 staff, Burnaby School District enrolls almost 24,000 students (K-12) and provides programs and services to more than 16,000 adult learners.

Habitat Systems Inc. ( is the supplier of the Landscape Structures ( playground equipment and has worked with thousands of schools, municipalities, and landscape architects across Western Canada on their playground projects. Habitat strives to provide their clients with exciting and environmentally responsible playgrounds where children and adults have the opportunity to create, imagine, dream and learn together.

“Habitat Systems is proud to have partnered with the Vancouver Canucks players and their families along with the Edmonds Community School and the Burnaby School District to carefully choose inclusive, innovative and exciting equipment for the children of the Edmonds community,” says Mark Bodie, Co-Owner & Principal of Habitat Systems Inc. “The Landscape Structures play products that have been chosen will be a lasting legacy for this community, meeting the needs of both the school and surrounding area for years to come.”

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