COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey will lead the nation in the seventh annual Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by CCM, Feb. 28-March 2.
"Hockey Weekend Across America is one of the marquee events on the calendar each year," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "This year will be unique as we'll celebrate Hockey Weekend Across America the weekend immediately following the conclusion of the Olympic Winter Games."
Each of the three days of Hockey Weekend Across America features a special theme.
"Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day" on Friday, Feb. 28, is the day for fans to show off their hockey pride by wearing their prized hockey jerseys. USA Hockey's Facebook and Twitter pages will accept photos from families, friends, and colleagues in search of the most passionate hockey fans.
On Saturday, March 1, as part of Try Hockey Day, sponsored by the NHL, hundreds of rinks nationwide will host "Try Hockey for Free" clinics, sponsored by Liberty Mutual and Total Hockey, allowing thousands of children to experience hockey for the first time. Arenas interested in hosting an event and players wishing to take part should visit HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com for more details.
To cap off the weekend, "Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes" day on Sunday, March 2, encourages hockey programs nationwide to develop ways to honor their local hockey heroes. USA Hockey invites all to post pictures and stories on its Facebook and Twitter pages. The day also includes NBC's Hockey Day in America coverage.
Fans 13 years of age and older can begin registering for the Hockey Weekend Across America "Great Day for Hockey" Sweepstakes tomorrow (Jan. 1) at HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com. Three grand prize packages will be awarded, each including hockey skates, hockey stick, helmet/facemask combo and hockey gloves, courtesy of CCM. Second and third prizes will also be awarded with the drawing taking place.
At each of 15 NHL games in American cities during Hockey Weekend Across America, two young officials will have a chance to meet the NHL officials working the particular contest prior to the game and then stay to watch those NHL officials in action.
For full information surrounding the weekend, visit HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com. Visitors can seek out activities around their community or across the country, participate in exciting giveaways and download promotional materials. Associations and teams celebrating Hockey Weekend Across America are encouraged to submit their event plans to USA Hockey on this site.
Hockey Weekend Across America was created by USA Hockey in 2008 to engage the hockey community in celebrating the sport of hockey at all levels and exposing the sport to new audiences.
The fifth annual Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by Reebok, concluded last Sunday (Feb. 19) and was a success on all fronts. The nationwide event, which took place Feb. 17-19, was a three-day celebration of the sport of hockey that included hundreds of thousands of fans wearing their favorite hockey jerseys, some 6,000 boys and girls trying hockey for the very first time, millions of viewers watching NBC's Hockey Day in America coverage, and associations across the country celebrating their local hockey heroes.
"Hockey Weekend Across America was a resounding success" said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "The participation of fans, associations, leagues and teams at all levels of the game was fantastic and continues to grow."
Each of the three days associated with Hockey Weekend Across America had a theme, including Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey, sponsored by ShopUSAHockey.com on Friday; Try Hockey Day, sponsored by the NHL on Saturday and Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes, sponsored by Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports on Sunday.
On Friday, Feb. 17, USA Hockey directed fans to its Facebook page to submit photos of themselves, their friends and colleagues donning their favorite team's jersey at work or at school during "Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey" day. Fans also tweeted pictures throughout the day using the hashtag #HWAA, and additional photos from throughout the weekend were posted on Reebok Hockey's Facebook page. Select photos will be featured in an upcoming edition of USA Hockey Magazine, the world’s most widely distributed hockey magazine.
On Saturday, Feb. 18, some 6,000 young kids from across the nation were introduced to hockey for the first time during Try Hockey for Free events. Joe Louis Arena, the home of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, hosted "24 Hours of Hockey," which started one minute past midnight on Friday night/Saturday morning. The event featured a USA Hockey American Development Model clinic and two, one-hour free Try Hockey for Free clinics on Saturday morning, in addition to games throughout the day from all age levels.
In honor of "Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes" day on Sunday, Feb. 19, local teams and associations honored their heroes in various ways. In addition, fans posted stories, photos or videos of their hockey heroes to USA Hockey's Facebook wall to share with the world.
Also on Sunday, for the second straight year, NBC presented its "Hockey Day in America" coverage from 12 - 9 p.m. EST. Coverage included an NHL doubleheader on NBC and content throughout the broadcast that showcased all levels of hockey in the United States. Sunday evening, NBC Sports Network continued the coverage with a third NHL broadcast.
A new component to Hockey Weekend Across America gave aspiring young officials a chance to meet with their NHL counterparts. At each home NHL game in an American city during Hockey Weekend Across America, two young officials met the NHL officials working the particular contest prior to the game and stayed to watch those NHL officals in action. For more information on the officials program, click here.
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I definitely will never forget," said Nick Penberthy, who participated in the program in Buffalo. "I acquired awesome insight into the life of an NHL referee as well as tips in general that I will use as I continue to officiate games."
USA Hockey sponsored several contests and giveaways throughout the weekend. The three winners of the Hockey Weekend Across America "Get Your Gear On Sweepstakes" were Jose Casillas (Buffalo, N.Y.), Glenn Gaus (Hillsdale, N.J.) and Deb Filipiak (Belmont, Mich.). Each of the three will receive head-to-toe equipment packages from Reebok Hockey.
In addition, Josh Getzoff (Ithaca, N.Y.) was randomly selected and won a 1960 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team replica jersey and a USA Hockey prize pack for using the #HockeyHero hashtag on Twitter. Several other prizes were also awarded through trivia contests and giveaways on Sunday on the USA Hockey Twitter page.
NOTES: Hockey Weekend Across America was created by USA Hockey in 2008 to engage the hockey community in celebrating the sport of hockey at all levels and exposing the sport to new audiences ... Thirteen college hockey games were televised live during the weekend ... Several prominent American figures were interviewed on XM/Sirius' Hockey This Morning. To listen to the interviews, click here ... A snapshot of events held across the country in celebration of Hockey Weekend Across America can be found here ... The NHL Network aired special coverage duringHockey Weekend Across America, including a special tribute to the NHL's highest-scoring American-born player titled "Mike Modano: American Icon" ... A giant Team USA jersey, spanning 20 feet by 20 feet, was on hand for fans to sign at the Wells Fargo WinterSkate outdoor rink in St. Paul, Minn., in support of the U.S. Women's National Team which will host the International Ice Hockey Federations Women's World Championship in Burlington, Vt., from April 7-14.