Boys and girls from Regent Park schools will play hockey this winter thanks
to the NHL, HEROS and CIBC

TORONTO, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - Today, boys and girls from three schools in Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood will start their hockey careers thanks to the generosity of the NHL, the Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) and CIBC.

"Thirty-two boys and girls, who normally could not afford the cost of equipment, registration and ice time, will join thousands of other kids across Canada in playing hockey this winter," says Norman Flynn, founder and president of the HEROS program. Mr. Flynn and two CIBC employees, Terron Falk and Dave Melloy, started the program in Vancouver in 2000 to bring kids from challenging backgrounds together to play hockey and to learn valuable life skills such as self-esteem, commitment and discipline.

The National Hockey League(R) (NHL) will be supporting the HEROS milestone event with custom made jerseys for the future stars. "HEROS is an exemplary model when it comes to youth enrichment and grassroots hockey programming," said Ken Martin, NHL Vice President of Community and Diversity Programming. "We have been admirers of HEROS since its inception in 2000. We are proud supporters, and commend their enduring commitment to providing hockey opportunities for children both in Canada and abroad."

Since its inception, HEROS has worked with more than 1,400 boys and girls throughout Canada with the support of many private and corporate donors. CIBC, through funds raised on its annual CIBC Miracle Day, has donated $85,000 to the program this year and $300,000 since 2000. The Regent Park initiative is one of two HEROS programs in Toronto. The other operates in the Jane and Finch area.

    
    Who:      Students, teachers and family from Regent Park Duke of York,
              Spruce Court and Rose Avenue Public Schools
              Greg Schell, Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment
              CIBC Miracle Day Co-Chair

    What:     32 students will register for the program, receive full hockey
              gear and go for their first skate

    Where:    Moss Park Arena, Regent Park
              140 Sherbourne Street

    When:     3:30pm 4:15pm Equipment Fitting
              4:15pm 5:00pm Ice Time

    RSVP:     Norm Flynn at (604) 218-1661 or heros@telus.net
    

About HEROS

HEROS provides children in the economically challenged neighbourhoods of the city an opportunity to learn the game of hockey by providing all equipment and on/off ice instruction. HEROS program chapters are located in: Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast (Gibsons and Sechelt), Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Belfast and Dublin. HEROS uses hockey as a catalyst to encourage self-esteem, confidence, responsibility, teamwork and commitment. The program also provides individual academic assistance if necessary. More than 90% of the youth taking part in the program this year are returning students. More than half of the youth participating this year will be entering the HEROS mentoring program next year. To learn more, www.heroshockey.com.

About NHL's Hockey is for Everyone Initiative

Hockey is for Everyone provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey. The initiative is supported by NHL member clubs, players, NHL alumni, and fans. To date, Hockey is for Everyone has exposed close to 45,000 boys and girls to unique hockey experiences.

HEROS is a member of the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone initiative. Hockey is for Everyone is a component of "The Biggest Assist Happens off the Ice," the National Hockey League's social responsibility program that builds on the League's long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues in North America and around the world.

About NHLPA Goals & Dreams

In 1999, the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) launched the Goals & Dreams fund, a $16-million hockey program which is the largest grassroots hockey program ever created. The players' program has donated full sets of hockey equipment to more than 9,000 economically challenged children in 17 countries and assisted with upgrade and the building of hundreds of arenas world-wide.

About CIBC Children's Foundation

The CIBC Children's Foundation is a registered charity responsible for distributing funds raised on Miracle Day (the first Wednesday of each December) to Canadian children's charities.

CIBC Miracle Day is the annual flagship fundraising event for the Foundation. On Miracle Day, CIBC's wholesale bank trading staff and CIBC Wood Gundy Investment Advisors donate their fees and commissions to organizations that support kids in our communities. Through the efforts of staff and clients over $3.1 million was raised in Canada in 2008, for a total of over $50 million donated to more than 1,000 children's charities across Canada since 1984. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Miracle Day. To learn more, visit www.cibc.com/pas.

SOURCE HEROS

For further information: For further information: Norm Flynn at (604) 218-1661 or heros@telus.net

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HEROS

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