COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – More than 7,000 children across the country had the opportunity to try hockey for the first time last Saturday (Nov. 5) during the first of two national USA Hockey Try Hockey For Free days this season. USA Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free days are focused on providing an opportunity for children who haven’t tried hockey to do so without cost.
Certified volunteers and coaches provided instruction and fun games for children to play on the ice, and host sites provided equipment for children to borrow.
“Seeing the smiles on the faces of kids and families at rinks across the country was inspiring,” said Kevin Erlenbach, assistant executive director for membership at USA Hockey.
“Try Hockey for Free is a fun introduction to our sport. A special shoutout to all the great grassroots volunteers in communities all around the nation who helped put on Try Hockey events.”
A total of 275 different sites across the country hosted more than 7,000 kids. Minnesota led the way with 40 host sites, while Michigan followed close behind with 34 rinks.
The highest total participation took place at South Suburban Sports Complex in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, with Arapahoe Youth Hockey welcoming 238 total participants over two sessions.
Other sites with notable attendance included the Kansas City Ice Center, hosted by Kansas City Youth Hockey in Shawnee, Kansas, with 119 participants; Colorado Rampage in Monument, Colorado, with 101; Boulder Hockey Club in Boulder, Colorado, with 100; and the UMass Mullins Center Community Rink, hosted by Amherst Hockey Association in Amherst, Massachusetts, with 96.
With the support of the NHL and NHL member clubs, as well as sponsors and local associations, USA Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free days are designed to provide a national platform for introducing children to the sport free of charge. The events are the world’s largest introduction-to-hockey initiative.
NOTES: CCM Hockey and Pure Hockey are official sponsors of Try Hockey for Free … Now in its 13th season, USA Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free initiative has introduced nearly 240,000 children to the sport of hockey … USA Hockey’s annual Hockey Week Across America celebration will include the second national Try Hockey for Free Day on February 25, 2023. Interested host sites can go to TryHockeyForFree.com for more information.