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PKSF Is All About Kids

Established in 2014, the P.K. Subban Foundation (PKSF) has worked to support a variety of initiatives designed to help children all over the world. One of the fundamental tenets of the foundation is that economic barriers and challenging life circumstances should not limit children’s potential and opportunities. This reflects founder P.K. Subban’s experience as a child when he was able to attend a prestigious hockey school nearby while working for his ice time, retrieving pucks, and running drills. He was able to spend six to eight hours every day on skates from age six to 14, even though his family was not in the position to pay for the school.

That experience created the groundwork for his belief that ‘giving back is contagious’. Now, the Defence League doubles up on giving back. The kids in the league learn more than just skills — they get the tools, tips, and tricks it takes to become champions on and off the ice as change makers and leaders. The money they contribute to the program goes towards helping less-fortunate kids, simultaneously teaching all of them about the importance of giving back.

Is Hockey the Holy Grail?

It’s not just about hockey. Sure, the cardiovascular benefits are through the roof, while the coordination and gross motor skills enhance hand-eye coordination and encourage the development of incredible spatial perception. And yes, playing is fun! It burns a boatload of calories and gives kids a healthy relationship to food as fuel and a positive body image.

Hockey is like a lot of team sports in its ability to impart life skills and bigger lessons to its youngest players. One of the biggest skill sets young hockey players get is learning how to rely on others and work together cooperatively. We can tell our kids to share and listen to others from sunup to sundown, but they really listen when a game they care about is on the line. If the difference between winning and losing comes down to communicating with a teammate and helping them get the glory shot rather than taking it yourself, you gain some of the tools you’ll be able to use for the rest of your life no matter what you choose to do.

PKSF Defence League group photo

The Basic Formula

There are a few things kids absolutely need to do as young hockey players. It’s a simple list (and some things might be a surprise because they’re not really about hockey at all), but it adds up to a lifetime of benefits. Here are the basics:

  • Go to all the practices and games.
  • Go to the gym or do some off-ice training.
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Sleep at least eight hours every night.
  • Study the game.

Building this short list into their daily regimen gives kids focus and discipline. Each of these items is a reminder that the way they live their daily lives will determine their level of performance when it counts. This adds up to a whole set of values that is difficult to teach unless it is earned.

Commitment

Commitment starts with a single day. Kids don’t understand the true meaning of commitment until they care about something enough to practice on the days they don’t feel like it, eat the foods they know will fuel their bodies with power, or repeat the same move day after day and week after week until they master it. Learning commitment early in life makes everything from schoolwork to relationships to high-level sports easier.

Respect

Each club has a unique code of ethics that teaches the players how to treat each other with respect, which is one of the most fundamental building blocks in good sportsmanship. From the respect each player must give the coach as an authority figure to the fist bumps given to the opposing teams after games, these practices instill overall goodwill towards others, even when the others are the opposition (until the clock runs out). Being a good sport with others starts with basic respect. Young hockey players learn early that if they lose, they shouldn’t make excuses, and if they win, they shouldn’t rub it in.

Communication + Teamwork

No game is won by a single player alone. Kids listen to their coach express strategies and concepts, and they learn to speak in ways that others will understand. Then they take that skill out onto the ice with them to create team synergy. A team that communicates well during a game will always play better than a team of better players who don’t communicate with each other. Kids who understand this become adults who can build strong relationships and work in powerful teams.

Food

Little athletes do one thing better than almost anyone else on earth — eat! Sports make you hungry. While kids may just open the fridge and eat until there’s nothing left, it’s fun to watch them learn that certain delicious snacks are also wholesome and can pack a ton of energy.

CLIF Kid ZBar® are made specifically for active kids who play all day. The combination of great taste and whole grains from organic oats make these bars the perfect smart snacks for kids (who mostly care about the flavor) and parents (who care about nutrition). Each bar has 10-12 grams of whole grains, no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, and it's non-GMO.

Some of the favorites among the youth hockey player crowd are: CLIF Zbar Chocolate Chip and Iced Oatmeal Cookie.

PKSF Defence League Champions

So what is it that Subban’s foundation drills into its young players that turns them into champions? Hint: It’s more than just drills on the ice.

It’s about learning the physical skills in a world-class hockey school environment, but it’s also about becoming leaders who change the game for everyone by building community and giving back. The kids learn integrity right from the start — that it’s better to be authentically you than try to be anything you’re not. Most of all, what these kids come out with is a passion for the sport that pushes them to excel at every other thing they try in life. At PKSF, a winner isn’t always the person who is victorious at the end of the game. A winner is someone who has gained the life skills that will bring them fulfillment in all they do.

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