MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation announced today the extension of its partnership with Sun Life until the end of the 2024-25 season to continue to expand its introductory ball hockey program in schools across Quebec.
Designed for 3rd- and 4th-grade students in communities where BLEU BLANC BOUGE outdoor rinks have been built, the program allows underprivileged youth to experience the benefits of a healthy and physically active lifestyle through ball hockey activities.
Sun Life will continue to act as the presenting sponsor of the BLEU BLANC BOUGE Ball Hockey program, which it has been financially supporting since 2020 with annual contributions of $150,000, for an additional three years. The renewal of this commitment will bring the total amount invested by Sun Life to $900,000 to support the efforts of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation in promoting healthy lifestyle habits. The announcement was made this Wednesday in the presence of Pierre Boivin, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Sophie Ouellet, Vice-President, Business Development, Group Benefits, Sun Life, and Francis Bouillon, former defenseman and player development coach for the Montreal Canadiens. In addition, 200 kids who participated in the program’s spring session were also invited to its closing party at the Bell Centre.
“We are thrilled to renew our partnership with Sun Life and work together to reduce barriers to physical activity by providing children from disadvantaged backgrounds with equal opportunities to move throughout the school year,” said Pierre Boivin, Chairman of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation’s Board of Directors. “This financial support will help us reach even more young people and vulnerable communities through this active, educational and fun program, and thus have a direct impact on their health throughout their lives.”
Since 2020, the support provided by Sun Life has helped implement this health and wellness program in six regions of the province, namely in Montreal, Laval and Monteregie initially, and then in Estrie, Lanaudiere and Mauricie. More than 1,730 young people from 36 schools had the chance to learn the fundamentals of ball hockey and develop new motor and social skills thanks to sessions offered each fall, winter, and spring. By June 2025, the program will also expand to the Laurentians and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean regions, enabling an additional 2,000 children from 13 communities across Quebec to enjoy weekly activities encouraging positive and sustainable change in their lifestyle.
“With the renewal of this partnership, we are very proud to see that our impact continues to grow in different regions of Quebec. The BLEU BLANC BOUGE Ball Hockey program goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to supporting grassroots organizations and building healthy, sustainable communities,” said Robert Dumas, President and CEO, Sun Life Quebec. “Regular physical activity is essential to children’s development, and what they learn from this initiative will definitely help them live longer, healthier lives.”
This six-week program aims to provide children from socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods with the opportunity to learn essential life skills that will encourage them to make healthy choices, thus limiting the onset of various chronic health problems, such as diabetes. A new health-related theme is introduced each week through an activity book, offering ideas, tools, and tips on a variety of topics such as nutrition, sleep, and relaxation. Each participant is also given a ball hockey starter kit, including a stick and a ball, so they can continue to develop their stickhandling skills.
About the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation
The Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation encourages physical activity and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle among underprivileged youth aged 4 to 17 years old. Since its creation in 2000, it has invested over $42 million in its programs as well as through donations to more than 900 charitable endeavors working for the well-being of the most vulnerable children throughout Quebec. The Foundation fulfills its mandate in two ways: firstly, through a unique flagship project – the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program – which consists of building and activating community refrigerated and multisport rinks; secondly, by providing financial support to non-profit organizations whose projects and programs enable children to adopt healthy lifestyles by being more active. For more information, visit foundation.canadiens.com.
Sun Life in the community
Sun Life is sustainability-driven, focusing on areas where it can have the greatest impact. By actively supporting the communities in which Sun Life lives and works, the organization can help build a positive environment for Clients, employees, advisors, and shareholders. Physical health and mental health are at the centre of our philanthropic support, with a focus on supporting programs and organizations that strive to empower people to live their healthiest lives no matter where they are in their journey. Sun Life employees and advisors take great pride in volunteering and giving back to make life brighter for individuals and families across Canada. Learn more about Sun Life in the community.