MONTREAL, Que. – As part of its BLEU BLANC BOUGE program launched back in September 2008, the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation unveiled its third outdoor multipurpose and refrigerated community rink at Willibrord Park in the Verdun borough, with the contribution of the Hockey Canada Foundation. To mark the official opening, 50 children from the area took to the ice and skated alongside a few players from the Canadiens including Alexandre Picard, Mathieu Darche, Hal Gill and Benoit Pouliot.
The artificial ice rink was built in accordance with NHL standards and dimensions (200 feet by 85 feet) and features a quality of ice that matches the high standards of pro rinks. Located in Verdun’s Willibrord Park, the new rink offers the flexibility necessary to accommodate the practice of other seasonal sports activities. The skating season will last from the end of November until mid-March, while various types of ball games, such as soccer, and in-line hockey as well as a variety of different sporting activities will take over for the spring, summer and fall months.
I“Sports is a key component in the healthy development of our youth and we are convinced that the construction of this third community rink in the Verdun borough provides children from the area with an outstanding facility for them to use and enjoy while being physically active,” said Pierre Boivin, president and CEO of the Montreal Canadiens and chairman of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.
The initiative is part of BLEU BLANC BOUGE, the Foundation’s flagship project with the objective of building five outdoor multipurpose and refrigerated community rinks that can accommodate various sporting activities in less privileged neighbourhoods in the Montreal area. Eager to provide high quality infrastructures, the Foundation agreed to a five-year partnership with the FTQ (Fédération des travailleurs du Québec), Fonds de solidarité FTQ, City of Montreal blue collars, FTQ construction workers and local entrepreneurs who all contribute to the project by providing financial resources, materials and manpower. The Foundation also works closely with W. Graeme Roustan, Chairman of Bauer and Arena Design Services, a leader in the area of arena products and services, in the implementation of this type of playing surface.
“Once again the FTQ and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ are extremely pleased to be involved in this construction project. We are also very proud of the active role played by an important number of FTQ construction workers and City of Montreal blue collars who worked tirelessly to provide the Verdun youth with modern and accessible facilities,” said FTQ secretary general, Daniel Boyer who was proud to add that as a youngster who grew up in this neighbourhood, he played hockey on the rinks of this very park.
The Hockey Canada Foundation supported the construction of this third BLEU BLANC BOUGE outdoor rink in the Verdun borough with a financial aid.
“Hockey Canada is excited to be part of today’s announcement, and to be partners with the Montreal Canadiens on this project,” said Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson. “It is great to be able to add a facility here in Verdun, which will give an opportunity to many children to play the great game of hockey.”
These community rinks are characterized as animated gathering areas for sports and physical activity that will provide youth 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 form 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 assess the impact of the program.
“Québec en Forme is pleased to once again contribute to the actions taken by the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation towards underprivileged children in Quebec,” said Québec en Forme general manager, Eric Myles. “We take pride in this partnership because it is our belief that the global development of our youth, their health, their well-being and their success depend on a healthy lifestyle and a safe and stimulating environment.”
Following the construction of the first three rinks in the Villeray O Saint-Michel O Parc-Extension borough, Montréal-Nord and now the Verdun borough, the Foundation announced last summer that Ville LaSalle was the beneficiary of the fourth BLEU BLANC BOUGE outdoor rink scheduled for the winter of 2012.
“The commitment of the Montreal Canadiens to the Montreal community is more than just words, it’s a fact. The inauguration of this third community outdoor rink by the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation is the evidence. A bighearted and resilient gesture that complements concrete initiatives undertaken by our administration to enable kids and their families to have access to quality infrastructures and equipment,” said Gérald Tremblay, mayor of Montreal.
The Verdun borough is widely acknowledged for the dedication of its deep-rooted multi-ethnic makeup, its needs in terms of sports and leisure infrastructures and its ability to actively mobilize resources and create outreach projects with various participants in the community.
“We are deeply grateful to the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation for this brand new refrigerated outdoor rink that will enable hundreds of children and their families to enjoy sporting activities in a high quality environment,” said Claude Trudel, mayor of the Verdun borough and member of the executive committee for public security.
Over and above the infrastructure, Verdun benefited from the generosity of Bauer who donated 100 pairs of skates, helmets and sticks to create a bank of supplies to fill the needs of various local organizations working with children.
About the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation
The Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation is determined to provide a better and healthier future for children in need, and is committed to encourage and promote a healthy and active lifestyle among the youth. Since its inception in August 2000, the Foundation has donated more than $10 million to over 400 charitable groups working to support the well-being of children across Quebec.