COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With the first of two USA Hockey National Try Hockey for Free days now in the books, the 10th season of the nationwide effort has reached more than 200,000 kids and their families. On Nov. 9, 11,500-plus children in the United States were introduced to the sport of hockey through Try Hockey for Free Day, presented by SportsEngine. The first steps, falls and smiles took place at more than 415 rinks nationwide.
Try Hockey events were held in 48 states, with equipment provided for children to use free of charge including skates, pads, helmets and sticks. Thousands of USA Hockey-certified coaches and volunteers provided instruction and encouragement to children stepping onto the ice for the first time.
"It is fun to see the all the smiling faces in rinks as kids experience our great sport for the first time,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “Hockey brings so many terrific benefits to families, and thanks to the efforts of our volunteers across the country, our staff, and the many others involved, we always look forward to the opportunity to welcome new kids and families to hockey.”
The New York Rangers organization (New York, N.Y.) headlined clubs nationwide with 395 kids across five separate sites. The Colorado Rampage (Monument, Colo.) boasted 219 children between two different sessions at their home rink.
“Thanks to the support from the entire hockey community, including rinks across the country, the NHL and its member clubs, the NHLPA, AHL, ECHL, college and junior teams, our Affiliates and the thousands of local associations to name just a few, our Fall Try Hockey for Free Day was a significant success,” said Kevin Erlenbach, assistant executive director of membership. “We’re also thankful to the corporate partners engaged in helping us with Try Hockey and the many other groups that contributed to what was a great day for hockey.”
USA Hockey, which hosts two national Try Hockey for Free days each season, will hold its second event Sat., Feb. 22, 2020, as part of Hockey Week Across America. Interested rinks and youth hockey associations can register as a host site here.
USA Hockey’s Try Hockey For Free days are designed to provide a national platform for introducing children to the sport, free of charge.
NOTES: SportsEngine is the presenting sponsor of Try Hockey For Free Day, while CCM Hockey, Chipotle, and Pure Hockey are official sponsors of Try Hockey For Free days … Now in its 10th season, USA Hockey’s Try Hockey For Free days have introduced more than 203,500 children to the sport of hockey … Watch as five-year old Mason, and six-year old Kayla try hockey for the first time … USA Hockey encourages participants to post photos and videos on social media tagging @usahockey and using the hashtag #TryHockey.