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RBC Survey: 82 Per Cent of Canadian Hockey Households Believe More Support Needed from Corporate Canada

Helping hockey happen with 36 new RBC Play Hockey grants; RBC extends Hockey Canada partnership through to 2018

TORONTO, December 6, 2011— An overwhelming number of Canadians involved in hockey (82 per cent) believes that corporate Canada needs to do more to support hockey at the grassroots level, according to a recent RBC survey (opens PDF in new window) of hockey households. In addition, results showed that 36 per cent of those surveyed believe increasing fees is the single greatest barrier to local hockey programming.

The survey found that fewer than half of Canadian hockey households (46 per cent) feel their local hockey league is sufficiently funded. The average family spends approximately $1,500 a year on hockey-related expenses. Of the families with a child previously enrolled in hockey but not in the current season, almost 40 per cent cited rising costs as their reason for leaving the sport.

When asked to rate on a scale from one to 10, how important business support is to the continued success of minor hockey in Canada, respondents most frequently said '10' (very important).

RBC is answering the call from hockey enthusiasts with programs like RBC Play Hockey - a wide-ranging, multi-year commitment aimed at supporting hockey at the grassroots level. RBC today announced the latest RBC Play Hockey Grant recipients (opens PDF in new window) and outlined the next phase of its program. Beginning December 26, 2011, RBC will augment funding for future grant recipients with one year of free financial advice from an RBC Financial Advisor to help local organizations manage their hockey programs.

"The RBC Play Hockey Grant program has allowed us to shine the spotlight on the people and programs that help hockey happen in communities across Canada and the U.S.," said Jim Little, RBC's chief brand and communications officer. "Over the past year, we've awarded more than $1 million to 87 deserving hockey programs and we're proud to expand our commitment even further by empowering organizations to manage their grants more effectively."

Canadians are passionate about hockey from Peewee to the pros. According to survey respondents, there has been no shortage of memorable moments in Canadian hockey history - including the "golden goal" at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. However, the most popular response when asked to choose their favourite hockey moment was "my child's first hockey game/goal".

"I was very fortunate to be part of teams that won two Olympic gold medals and three Stanley Cups, but I still remember the joy and exhilaration I felt when I stepped on the ice as a child for the very first time," said Steve Yzerman, general manager of the Tampa Bay Lighting and RBC Play Hockey Ambassador. "I'm proud to partner with RBC and help make those moments happen every day for kids in small towns and big cities across North America."

The national survey, conducted online by Nanos Research between November 7 and 15, 2011, measured the impressions of 1,006 Canadians who were either hockey parents or minor hockey volunteers. Respondents were randomly selected from a research panel to share their views related to hockey support in Canada.

Hockey Canada six-year partnership renewal

To further demonstrate its commitment to hockey, RBC announced a six-year extension of its Hockey Canada sponsorship through 2018. RBC has been a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada since 1995 and is the official sponsor of the men's and women's national teams and title sponsor of the RBC Cup, Canada's National Junior A Championship.

"RBC understands that hockey is a defining characteristic for Canadians," said Bob Nicholson, president and CEO of Hockey Canada. "Its continued partnership allows Hockey Canada to grow the game at all levels and provides new opportunities to support more Canadians than ever before."

36 RBC Play Hockey grant recipients (opens PDF in new window) announced

From ponds to podiums, RBC is proud to support the hard work and dedication of those who make hockey happen. Thirty-six RBC Play Hockey Grant recipients announced include:

  • Hockey Winnipeg (Winnipeg, MB): Hockey Winnipeg will use their $25,000 RBC Play Hockey Grant to invest in the city's growing women's hockey programming, including free coaching clinics for the newly developed Novice and Atom programs and continued funding for an inner-city all-female Atom team.
  • Elliot Lake Minor Hockey Association (Elliot Lake, ON): The Elliot Lake Minor Hockey Association will use their $10,000 RBC Play Hockey Grant to fund an equipment library, enabling the city's student population, many of whom have learning disabilities, to participate in hockey and learn valuable lessons about team work and accountability.
  • OneGoal Association (Brossard, QC): The OneGoal Association will use the $25,000 grant to provide marketing support, volunteers and OneGoal Starter Sets of equipment for its Try Hockey Events - a program that encourages parents to bring their children to local participating rinks to try the sport at no cost.
  • Urban Hockey Association (New York, NY): The $25,000 RBC Play Hockey Grant will fund a youth street hockey program and will help cover equipment and jerseys, administrative costs and a part-time employee to coordinate the program. The New York-based program will be free for participants.

RBC Play Hockey grant applications will be accepted beginning December 26, 2011. All applications will be reviewed by a panel of hockey experts. To apply for a grant or for more information about the RBC Play Hockey program, visit (opens new window).

RBC is committed to helping hockey happen in communities across North America. As a premier partner of Hockey Canada and USA Hockey, RBC is an official sponsor of each country's men's and women's national teams, the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, Canada's National Junior A Championship - RBC Cup - and the Hockey Hall of Fame. RBC sponsors amateur sport in communities across North America, from grassroots programs to national sport associations and elite-level athletes. For more information, visit (opens new window).

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For more information, please contact:

Jackie Braden, RBC Brand Communications, 416-974-1724,

Julia Perreira, Weber Shandwick, 416-642-7968,


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