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RBC finds most Canadian parents feel skating is a basic skill that all children should have the opportunity to learn

Yet from generation to generation fewer kids are skating

TORONTO, November 21, 2013 - Knowing how to skate is thought by many to be as 'Canadian' as the mighty beaver and maple syrup. According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of RBC, 92 per cent of Canadian parents believe every child should be provided with the opportunity to learn to skate.

"I have spent my life on the ice and have seen firsthand the benefits of this great activity," said Patrick Chan, three-time World Champion Figure Skater and RBC Olympian. "Getting out on skates the first time can be intimidating, which is why I am so proud that RBC is committed to teaching kids the fundamentals of skating - skills that will last a lifetime."

The survey showed that while 80 per cent of parents can skate, only 71 per cent identified their own kids as skaters. Of those who indicated their kids skated, two-thirds (68 per cent) said it was only a handful of times each year, while the other third (32 per cent) said their kids skated on a regular basis. Interestingly, the majority of kids (52 per cent) are learning to skate between the ages of 5 to 8, and a surprising number (38 per cent) are taking to the ice even earlier, between the ages of 2 to 4.

Recognizing there is a downward trend in physical activity among Canadian youth, RBC is focused on getting more kids healthy and active. The RBC Learn to Skate Program, run in conjunction with school boards and municipalities across the country, covers the cost of instruction, ice time and includes the donation of an equipment library (valued at more than $5,000) featuring skates and certified helmets with cages. This skating program is part of the RBC Believe in Kids Pledge, a five-year, $100 million commitment to improve the well-being of one million children and youth in Canada.

For many Canadians, skating leads to hockey. Nearly 570,000 kids play hockey in Canada and the game continues to be a defining characteristic for Canadians. However, the survey showed that only one in ten Canadian parents indicated their child played hockey regularly. With the increased pace of life and changing demographic in Canada, hockey is seeing a decline in registration.

"The RBC Learn to Skate Program not only complements our ongoing RBC Play Hockey initiatives, but also our commitment to help develop well-rounded kids in Canada," said Jane Broderick, chief brand and communications officer, RBC. "Through these programs, we support the people and organizations that help kids become healthy, happy and active for life and we hope to build a nation of skaters for generations to come."

These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted by Ipsos Reid between October 24 to 29, 2013, which measured the impressions of 1,011 Canadian parents through Ipsos' Canadian online panel. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.5 percentage points, had all Canadians with children in the household been polled.

2013 RBC PLAY HOCKEY GRANT RECIPIENTS
RBC is proud to support the hard work and dedication of those who make hockey happen in their community and those who are focused on getting more kids to learn the basic fundamentals of skating. Today, RBC announced 24 RBC Play Hockey Grant recipients, which includes:

  1. Association sportive et communautaire du Centre-Sud, Montreal, QC
  2. Bellemere Junior Public School, Toronto, ON
  3. Birch Cliff Heights Public School, Toronto, ON
  4. Cherryville Elementary School, Cherryville, BC
  5. City of Mississauga, Mississauga, ON
  6. General Crear Public School, Toronto, ON
  7. George Anderson Public School, Toronto, ON
  8. Gibson-Neill Memorial Elementary School, Fredericton, NB
  9. Hillcrest School, Estevan, SK
  10. Joseph Brant Public School, Toronto, ON
  11. Lambton Park Community School, Toronto, ON
  12. Mount Carmel Elementary School, Cape Breton, NS
  13. Municipality of North Cowichan, North Cowichan, BC
  14. Prince of Wales Elementary School, Hamilton, ON
  15. Roxborough Park Elementary, Hamilton, ON
  16. Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, Cochrane, AB
  17. St. Luke Catholic High School in Smiths Falls, ON
  18. St. Mary School, Moose Jaw, SK
  19. St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School, Belleville, ON
  20. Terry Fox Elementary School, Barrie, ON
  21. Tumpane Public School, North York, ON
  22. Twentieth Street Junior School, Toronto, ON
  23. West Dover School, Calgary, AB
  24. Yarmouth Central School, Yarmouth, NS

To apply for a 2014 RBC Learn to Skate program or for more information about the RBC Play Hockey program, visit rbcplayhockey.com (opens new window) beginning November 25.

About RBC and Sport
RBC supports amateur sport in communities across Canada, from recreational to competitive activities, and from grassroots to elite-level athletes. At the grassroots level, RBC is committed to supporting programs which help children develop the confidence and skills they need to enable them to play, and become happy, healthy and active for life. RBC is proud to be the longest-standing corporate supporter of the Canadian Olympic Team, since 1947, as well as a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada.

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.

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For more information, please contact::
Jackie Braden, RBC Brand Communications, 416-974-1724, jackie.braden@rbc.com