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USA Hockey Foundation to be Beneficiary of Celebrity Golf Tournament Featuring Kings, Avalanche

04/15/2014, 3:00pm MDT
By USA Hockey

A celebrity golf tournament featuring members of the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings will be held Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, at The Broadmoor Golf Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., with all proceeds from the event benefitting The USA Hockey Foundation.

The tournament will be held in conjunction with an NHL preseason game between Colorado and Los Angeles at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs on Oct. 2.

"We're most grateful to have The USA Hockey Foundation as the beneficiary of the celebrity golf outing," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "We also thank both the Kings and Avalanche for their continued efforts in in working with USA Hockey to positively affect the growth of hockey, particularly at the youth level."

Foursomes for the tournament are available and include the opportunity to golf with Avalanche and Kings personnel, tickets to the preseason contest between the two clubs Oct. 2, and opportunities to win prizes, as well as breakfast, lunch, and a cocktail reception.

For more information, click here or call (310) 535-4466.

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Granting Hockey Dreams in the Inner-City

05/07/2014, 9:45am MDT
By Jessi Pierce

Your donations at work

Hockey can teach a child more than just how to shoot and score, especially if parents, coaches and associations design their hockey programs to develop successful people, not just successful players.

At DinoMights, a non-profit youth hockey development program in Minneapolis, that goal is embraced through the acronym PASS, which stands for Physical, Academic, Social and Spiritual development. Providing inner-city kids with learn-to-skate programs, hockey camps and tutoring sessions since 1994, DinoMights has grown from 70 kids to more than 150. The program is made possible with help from the USA Hockey Foundation and NHL’s combined efforts in the Hockey Is For Everyone initiative.

“The most important needs of our students go far beyond hockey,” said Scott Harman, executive director of DinoMights. “We hope they are getting involved in school, in other school groups or teams, in really every facet of their life. We use hockey to introduce them to that.”

The NHL and USA Hockey have partnered in diversity initiatives since 1995. It’s through the HIFE program that DinoMights is awarded with annual grants. Roughly $8,000 each year covers all of DinoMights’ hockey operations costs, including ice time, equipment and fees.

“Everyone knows that hockey costs can be pricey,” said Harman. “We couldn’t do any of this without USA Hockey Foundation’s help and support. We are able to offer kids who might have never even thought about the chance of playing hockey that opportunity because of the USA Hockey Foundation and the grants they provide.

“It’s really special for everyone involved.”

The positive effect on those involved has been noticeable. Players matriculating through the DinoMights program have an 85-percent graduation rate in Minneapolis public schools – 35 percent higher than the average. Many of them return to volunteer their time with DinoMights once they’ve aged out, in order to give back to a program that gave to them.

Some of those giving back include U.S. Women’s National Team members. This past January, 2014 U.S. Olympian Anne Schleper gifted the DinoMights brand-new equipment, having volunteered with the program during her college tenure.

“For me, you want to see your kids think that what you did was valuable enough that they want to give back,” Harman said. “We don’t see many in DinoMights who go through our program and disappear. That’s how important this program has been to the kids that have been through it.

“And we couldn’t be more thankful for all that USA Hockey and the NHL has done for us to achieve it. Many of these kids’ lives wouldn’t be the same without it.”

 

1972 Olympics: Silver Medals and Friends of Gold

09/09/2013, 4:00pm MDT
By Jessi Pierce

The 1972 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team is still maintaining friendships from 40 years ago

Their skates may move a little slower than they did nearly 42 years ago in Sapporo, Japan, and there’s probably more silver and white in their hair, but talk to any member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team, and they instantly go back to that time like it happened just yesterday.

“I can still hear the crunch of the snow from our early morning runs around the Olympic Village and playing in those games,” said former defenseman Tom Mellor, a Rhode Island native. “What an experience it all was – just a bunch of amateur hockey players going out to take on the world one game at a time.”

An improbable run to the silver medal started with an upset of Czechoslovakia that some compared to the U.S.’s wins over the Soviet Union in the 1960 and 1980 Olympic Games. Team member and Minnesota native Craig Sarner credits the intense team bond to helping lift Team USA to its success that year.

U.S. Head Coach Murray Williamson demanded that the team stick together right away, beginning with practices and tryouts that began months prior to the Olympic Games. Sarner and Mellor both note that, “everyone had one another’s backs” and “it became one of our biggest and most important families.”

And it’s a family that hasn’t drifted, even though states and careers now separate them. The team chemistry still carries on today with the majority of the players that donned the Red, White and Blue all those years ago.

“The medal was important,” said Sarner. “But the friendships we developed and the lifelong bond we have is the biggest part of it all. We just enjoy the heck out of being together, and it was that chemistry that helped us prove that will does beat skill sometimes.”

After the Olympic Games, most of the team, which included the likes of a then 16-year-old Mark Howe, Henry Boucha and Mike “Lefty” Curran, went on to some sort of professional hockey career, still staying in touch every year via email and phone calls and trips all across the U.S. Sarner, Mellor and the rest of the squad get together frequently. Their last trip was to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the summer of 2012. Mellor said the team already has plans to meet up again this year, a reunion that everyone looks forward to.

The conversation is not always focused solely on hockey. Sarner is still involved as a scout for the United States Hockey League and North American Hockey League. Mellor hung up the skates and moved on to “life after hockey.”

They also update the hockey family on each player’s personal family.

“I’m a new grandpa with a granddaughter, Eve, so I am boring the guys with photos and information about her constantly,” said Sarner, whose silver-plated medal hangs in Eve’s room. “So I know they’re tiring of it, but we all update on family life and just everything that’s going on with one another. Never a lack of stories, some true, some fabricated, when this group gets together.”

Stories will be shared by the 1972 alums and their extended USA Hockey family for years to come.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to play with and meet than that team,” said Mellor. “Them and really everyone involved in the USA Hockey organization, from the 1980 team, and beyond, it’s neat to be a part of something like that – to be a part of that family.”

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