SURREY â€“ Believe it or not, but the Subban brothers might not have been drafted into the National Hockey League if it hadnâ€™t been for the community spirit in the Greater Toronto Area.
Growing up in Rexdale, they had to use second-hand equipment and it was difficult for Karl and Maria Subban to finance their three sons’ â€“ P.K., Malcolm and Jordan â€“ hockey dreams.
Now, they are trying to change that by supporting the Hyundai Hockey Helpers campaign alongside KidSport.
The program aims to raise funds for children who come from low-income families to help cover registration costs of playing organized hockey.
Karl, who moved to Sudbury, Ontario from Jamaica when he was 11 years old, couldnâ€™t afford to play organized hockey and his first pair of skates came from the Salvation Army.
Jordan, who was chosen by the Vancouver Canucks in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, said his parents made a lot of sacrifices to get all three brothers on the ice.
â€œIt was always a struggle for us to find new equipment and itâ€™s obviously very expensive,â€ Jordan said in an interview with the Now.
The Subban family did all they could to raise money for hockey costs, including selling chocolates at hockey games.
Jordan, the youngest of the three, is playing for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, as his brothers did before him.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t always the new stuff, but whenever you get something, whether itâ€™s a new pair of skates or a stick, youâ€™re very grateful,â€ he added.
Karl was a principal of an elementary school and Maria was an accountant, but P.K. said that money was tough at times.
Jordan Subban during 2014 Vancouver Canucks Summer Development Camp at UBC in Vancouver, B.C., July 7, 2014. (Arlen Redekop/PNG)
â€œComing from a large family that struggled financially, Iâ€™m committed to helping every kid get in the game. I think itâ€™s extremely important,â€ P.K. said in a release. â€œMy parents worked hard, but sometimes that just wasnâ€™t enough.
â€œFor the last two years, this program has helped nearly 5,000 kids play hockey, which is truly amazing. These kids might not have been able to get in the game. This year Iâ€™m spreading the word to help at least 2,000 more kids,â€ the Norris Trophy winner added.
Ronnie Paterson, the president of the Surrey-White Rock KidSport chapter, said the program has allowed 45 Surrey and White Rock children to play organized hockey since it began.
He mentioned the result was â€œremarkableâ€ for families who couldnâ€™t normally afford to put their children into organized sports.
â€œItâ€™s very moving and very touching to see the reaction and theyâ€™re extremely grateful. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s such a wonderful thing thatâ€™s in our community,â€ he said. â€œThe spirit of the community is paramount.â€
Paterson said sports are important because they teach lessons to children as they are growing and give them structure.
â€œItâ€™s all the commitment and the discipline around sports that allows you to shape somebodyâ€™s behaviour, principles and values. The characteristics sports provide people â€¦ enables kids to develop a strong foundation as they develop,â€ said Paterson.
Jeff Rae, the general manager of Jim Pattison Hyundai Surrey, has worked with KidSport and similar charities and believes that sports help any child.
â€œThere are a lot of things kids learn from organized sports,â€ he said. â€œI know what itâ€™s like to see the smiles on their faces and to see kids laughing on the field.
â€œItâ€™s fantastic. Hockey is a very expensive sport to play,â€ added Rae.
The car dealerships have their own fundraising efforts for customers after they purchase a vehicle.
This is the third year of the Hyundai Hockey Helpers campaign. All of the money raised will go towards registration for next year.