The Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund enables children to play ice hockey by reimbursing registration fees ©Getty Images

The Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund is returning for a second season, aimed at helping young Canadians return to ice hockey through financial support to the tune of CAD1 million (£573,000/$797,000/€672.000).

This will help players and their families return to the sport despite the COVID-19 pandemic by covering registration fees.

Olympic gold medallists Jarome Iginla and Marie-Philip Poulin, and Turin 2006 Paralympic champion Greg Westlake, are some of the supporters of the fund, which will look to surpass last season's assist total of 1,032 during the 2021-2022 season.

"The tremendous response to the launch of the Assist Fund in 2020 demonstrated the real need families have for financial support to get their kids back to hockey," said Tom Renney, chief executive of Hockey Canada.

"It also showed the desire of sponsors, hockey fans and members of the Canadian sport community to be a part of the solution.

"We know the need will be even greater this year, and with restrictions lifting across the country, the continued support we have from our many partners and the funding we have available, we can help even more young people get back in the game."

The fund was created in response to the pandemic last year and is supported by Hockey Canada and the Hockey Canada Foundation's partners BFL CANADA, BHE Canada, Chevrolet and Scotiabank, who helped with awareness and sent donations.

"The growing support for the Assist Fund from respected brands and experienced organisations is critical to us being able to help more Canadian kids take to the ice this year," said Donna Iampieri, executive director of the Hockey Canada Foundation.

"Our foundation is committed to helping remove barriers of access to the game of hockey for Canadians, and through our partners and the many Canadians who donate to us, we are helping thousands of kids every year. 

"We plan to make the 2021-22 hockey season our biggest success yet."

Canadians who meet the financial criteria and need assistance can apply for up to CAD500 (£287/$399/€336) in registration-fee reimbursements per player. 

They can apply until December 3.

One hundred per cent of donations will go towards the fund, with the Hockey Canada Foundation absorbing any administrative costs.