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A new partnership with Icy Hot and KidSport Canada advocates greater accessibility for children’s sports

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As cost-of-living spikes, budgets get tightened and sports become a frill. But a new $500,000 partnership will open a whole new playing field for kids across Canada facing financial obstacles

A new partnership with Icy Hot and KidSport Canada advocates greater accessibility for children’s sports

With the price of groceries peaking at a 40-year high, inflation is making basic needs inaccessible for many. In Toronto alone, the skyrocketing cost of living—an increase of 60 per cent for homeowners and 22 per cent for renters—is not only diminishing disposable income, but taking a toll on many families’ ability to afford even the basics. 

Parents, understandably, need to prioritize food, housing and schooling, leaving children’s sports out of their tightened budgets. That’s why the new partnership between Icy Hot and KidSport Canada—a non-profit organization that assists tens of thousands of kids each year through registration and equipment subsidies—is so crucial to the one in three Canadian kids whose socio-economic barriers prevent them from registering for sports.

As part of an exciting collaboration, Icy Hot has pledged $500,000 in funding to KidSport over the next three years, enabling an additional 1,600 kids to register for sports with the equipment they need to participate—building a blueprint for their future success. 

Those future wins are palpable for Icy Hot x KidSport brand ambassador and Canadian figure skater Elladj Baldé. As a newcomer to Canada, his parents sacrificed immensely to enable his passion. At the height of his career, the cost of his sport reached $60,000 per season. “This donation of $500,000 can change many lives,” he says. “My parents are immigrants. Figure skating wasn’t something we could afford, but my mom was so passionate and wanted us to skate, so we did.” 

His ascent to the world stage came at the behest of hard work, of course. But his community, government grants plus flexible and generous coaches enabled him as well. “It’s not the case for every family and I’m forever grateful to my parents. It’s a tough journey financially and I would encourage everyone to see what’s possible for every kid.”

Kids can also benefit from the important foundations that sports can teach: self-confidence, discipline and resiliency.  “We always look at the end result, but that space in the middle—the journey—is what leads you to that,” says Baldé. “Throughout my skating career, I learned the importance of rising from the pain and it is because of this that I’ve been able to continue to perform today.” 

And for these lessons, Baldé is grateful. “I wouldn’t be here without the support and generosity of my community, and Icy Hot’s donation to KidSport further embodies everything I stand for as a professional athlete, to call in the next generation of talent.”

To learn more about the partnership, visit icyhot.com.

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