2,721 kids in the game and counting with Hyundai Hockey Helpers

Dec 18, 2013, 17:56 ET from Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.

Hyundai Hockey Helpers delivers an estimated $1-million to KidSport to fund grants to deserving kids for equipment and league registration fees

MARKHAM, ON, Dec. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Just in its second year, Hyundai Hockey Helpers (HHH) has funded 2,721 grants this year to help deserving kids play hockey with more grants still being funded for the balance of the 2013/2014 hockey season. This already represents more than a 50% increase over the number of grants disbursed last year. HHH is a nation-wide program run in partnership with KidSport that provides grants to deserving kids to subsidize the cost of hockey equipment and league registration fees.

HHH was launched by Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. in September 2012 and has now provided over 4,600 grants to help kids play hockey over the last two seasons. As part of the program, Hyundai dealerships across Canada organized grassroots fundraising initiatives in their local communities throughout the month of October to help HHH fund new applications from deserving children. This year, approximately $1-million was donated to KidSport to help fund grants for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 seasons. The money represents a combination of donations and fundraising efforts by Hyundai Auto Canada, Hyundai dealers, and the public.

"It's as encouraging as it is disheartening to see how many kids we were able to help get in the game this hockey season," said Steve Kelleher, President and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. "On one hand, to see that the program has grown and been able to change the lives of so many Canadian kids is a great feeling. However, to learn that so many kids needed help to play our nation's favourite game is concerning. That said, we are more motivated than ever to grow Hyundai Hockey Helpers in an effort to realize our vision that every kid can pursue a dream to play hockey."

"The financial barriers that keep kids on the sidelines are part of our reality," said Jamie Ferguson, Chair of KidSport. "We're proud to count Hyundai as our largest national corporate partner. The Hyundai Hockey Helpers initiative is one that meshes extremely well with our belief that all kids should be given the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of organized sports."

The key conduit for HHH is the program's website at www.HyundaiHockey.ca. There, visitors are able to make a donation, apply for a grant, or learn more about the program. While KidSport manages the administration of all HHH Grants, costs for the financial grants for the first 1,000 recipients of HHH are the result of contributions by all of the 210 Hyundai dealers across Canada, as well as Hyundai Auto Canada. Furthermore, 100 per cent of every additional dollar donated by the public online or through dealers goes directly to KidSport to help one more kid get in the game.

In a 2013 survey commissioned by Hyundai Auto Canada of 1006 Canadian parents who have children that play hockey, 95 per cent agree that enrolling their kids in the sport requires a significant financial contribution. Indeed, 79 per cent say the family has to make sacrifices, with 53 per cent citing fewer vacations, 44 per cent attending fewer social events or family gatherings, and 42 per cent saying the family has to give up participation in other activities such as different sports or music lessons.

The survey also found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of the surveyed parents pay $1,000 or more each year for each child to play organized youth hockey, citing high league fees (39%), equipment (23%), and out-of-town travel (28%) as the game's highest individual cost elements.

Hyundai Auto Canada, established in 1983 and headquartered in Markham, Ontario, is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout Canada by Hyundai Auto Canada and are sold and serviced through 210 dealerships nationwide. Learn more at www.HyundaiCanada.com and learn more about Hyundai Hockey Helpers at www.HyundaiHockey.ca.

SOURCE Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.

Image with caption: "Hyundai Hockey Helpers works in partnership with KidSport to provide grants to kids for equipment and league registration fees. Find out more at www.HyundaiHockey.ca. (CNW Group/Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131218_C5685_PHOTO_EN_35162.jpg