MONTREAL, QC -- The Canadian Hockey Association, in cooperation with Hockey Québec and the Montréal Canadiens, announced Wednesday the official launch of the Quebec Centre of Excellence, located at the Molson Centre in Montreal.
This is the fifth Canadian Hockey Association Centre of Excellence, with other locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Saint John, NB. The Centres of Excellence focus on hockey development and connect the Canadian Hockey Association directly with the sport's grassroots by offering programs, events and resources for players, coaches and parents. The Québec Centre has been established with the active support of both the Montreal Canadiens and Hockey Quebec
Corporate support for the newest Centre of Excellence is received from the Canadian Hockey Association's premier sponsors -- Air Canada, Imperial Oil Limited, NIKE Canada and Royal Bank.
"It's very exciting for the Canadian Hockey Association to be officially opening the Quebec Centre of Excellence at the Molson Centre today," said Murray Costello, president of the Canadian Hockey Association. "Our Centres in Saint John, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver have proven their worth to the regions and communities they serve and I'm sure, with the outstanding cooperation of the Montreal Canadiens and Hockey Quebec, this hockey resource facility will be a valuable addition to the hockey scene in Quebec.
"The physical location of the Centre is simply outstanding and I'm sure the partnership with the Montreal Canadiens will be mutually beneficial. We have been fortunate in the excellent relationships we have developed with the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary and Saint John Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs in the other Centres of Excellence. We have no doubt this Centre will extend that network of strong commitment to grassroots hockey in Canada.
"The work already done by Mr. Ronald Corey and the Montreal Canadiens, as well as Hockey Quebec, has been essential in establishing this Centre of Excellence."
René Marcil, president of Hockey Quebec, said: "We are proud to be involved with the opening of the Quebec Centre of Excellence and look forward to being part of the many programs that will be run out of this facility.
"We believe the Quebec Centre of Excellence will complement Hockey Quebec's staff and deepen the resources we offer to our membership."
The Centre will be managed by Martin Savaria, 32, who has extensive experience with Hockey Montreal in hockey development at the grassroots level. His work with Hockey Montreal, a branch of Hockey Quebec, has included being responsible for skill development, conducting coaching courses and managing the regional office.
The Canadian Hockey Association has established four Centres of Excellence in the past 14 years, with NHL and AHL teams and provincial branches as partners. The concept began in 1984, through the involvement and initiative of the Calgary Flames. The Flames, the Saddledome Foundation and Project '75 have injected more than $1 million for research and development programming.
In 1992 the Ontario Centre of Excellence was established at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, with the joint support of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Maple Leaf Gardens Limited.
In the Spring of 1995, the Atlantic Centre of Excellence was established with the assistance of the Saint John Flames, the Calgary Flames and Project '75, and the BC Centre of Excellence was opened in January 1996 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, with the support of the Vancouver Canucks and the B.C. Amateur Hockey Association.
The opening of the Quebec Centre of Excellence further extends the scope of these important components in the Canadian Hockey Association's commitment to the grassroots development of our national game.