TORONTO, Ont. - The National Hockey League (NHL®), the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada today launched a Hockey Equipment Relief Program. As communities begin to re-open and kids look to re-engage in sports, this program will help families financially impacted by COVID-19 get their kids back on the ice.
“Children across the country are eager to hit the ice, but given our current environment, families will face many challenges to provide resources for their kids to continue to participate in the game they love,” said Rob Knesaurek, NHL group vice-president of youth hockey and industry growth fund. “We are extremely proud that the Hockey Equipment Relief Program will not only help offset some of these costs but will also continue to prioritize making our game more inclusive and diverse for everyone.”
The NHL, NHLPA, Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada combined resources to launch the Hockey Equipment Relief Program with an equipment donation initiative. This includes $2 million of hockey gear, with upwards of 7,000 sets to be distributed to families and communities most in need in the seven Canadian NHL cities (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal) and other regions across Canada. In the distribution of this equipment, particular attention will be provided to support minority communities.
“We’re proud to partner with the NHL, the NHLPA and Hockey Canada to help our game as regions begin to re-open,” said Mary-Kay Messier, VP of global marketing with Bauer Hockey. “The Hockey Equipment Relief Program is inspired by the realities that many hockey families are struggling financially. We know research shows that sports are critical for a child’s physical and mental health, and as a result we want to help struggling families get back on the ice without having to consider equipment costs.”
“As children look forward to returning to the ice with their friends, at the same time, many families are faced with the economic realities of COVID-19,” said Rob Zepp, NHLPA manager of special projects. “It’s with great pride that alongside our First Shift partners, we’ve created a Hockey Equipment Relief Program to offset some of these costs and allow hockey participants to continue to experience their passion for the sport during such uncertain times.”
“As Hockey Canada and its 13 Members continue to work towards a safe return to hockey, it is important for us to recognize the difficulty faced by many Canadian families during these uncertain times,” said Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada. “We are proud to partner with the NHL, NHLPA and Bauer Hockey on the Hockey Equipment Relief Program, and to assist with equipment distribution through our Members and local hockey associations from coast to coast to coast. We know this great initiative will allow a number of children and their families across the country to make an affordable return to hockey as soon as it is deemed safe.”
The equipment donation program will be administered through the seven Canadian NHL clubs, Hockey Canada and provincial governing bodies to determine distribution plans. An update on this equipment donation opportunity will be provided in August.