With the clock ticking down to his salary arbitration hearing on Friday, P.K. Subban was in Brossard Thursday morning to promote a cause close to his family’s heart.
Subban and his brothers, Malcolm and Jordan, along with their father, Karl, were at a South Shore car dealership to talk about Hyundai Hockey Helpers, a program that helps families that can’t afford to play with the costs of minor hockey registration and equipment.
“My family knows first-hand the financial challenges of having three boys playing hockey,” Karl Subban said.
Subban’s father said he is often asked two questions. How did they do it in terms of skating drills and training methods. “And there’s another question that is right at the top and that is ‘How did you manage the financial burden of having three boys playing hockey?’”
Karl Subban, a retired school principal, said he and his wife made tremendous sacrifices.
“And we soon found out that it wasn’t enough,” he said. “We also needed something else. And that something else was the giving spirit of the hockey community in Toronto. The giving spirit of that larger community in Toronto.”
And it’s that spirit that is found in the Hockey Helpers program, he added.
“It is that spirit that has given over 5,000 Canadian youngsters a chance to play the game that my boys love,” the father said.
P.K. was selected by the Canadiens in the second round (43rd overall) at the 2007 NHL draft. Malcolm, a goaltender, was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the first round (24th overall) in 2012 and Jordan, a defenceman, was picked by the Vancouver Canucks in the fourth round (115th overall) at the 2013 draft.
Growing up in Toronto, P.K. said he had many more friends that didn’t play hockey, that couldn’t afford to, than friends that could.
“Me being a part of this program, it’s much more than being a face and talking to media and promoting the program,” the 25-year-old said. “It means something to me personally, you know, because I feel like I’m giving back to kids that were just like my friends growing up.”
Subban fielded questions about his contract situation, but didn’t wade into the topic.
“We’re here for the kids today,” he said. “We’re here for the program.”
There was intrigue when Subban left the one-on-one interviews after the press conference for a phone call. When he returned several minutes later, Subban said he was talking to his mother, not his agent, because he left the cooking grill on at home.
Subban later told TSN Radio 690 that when he left home at 5 a.m. Thursday morning he made organic bison burgers.
“I left the grill on,” he said. “So she was calling me to tell me that I almost burnt the house down.”
Subban was scheduled to return to Toronto Thursday afternoon and told The Gazette he planned to have dinner in the evening with his agent, Don Meehan.
(Photo by Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)