A trio of youth hockey associations were recently recognized as recipients of USA Hockey's 2015 Grow the Game Award, presented by Total Hockey, which salutes innovative efforts to increase youth hockey participation. The honorees included Whatcom County Amateur Hockey Association (Bellingham, Wash.), the Bemidji Little Lady Lumberjacks (Bemidji, Minn.) and Geauga Youth Hockey Association (Chagrin Falls, Ohio).
The three winning associations were voted as this year's top submissions. Total Hockey awards the first-place finisher (Whatcom County Amateur Hockey Association) with 30 sets of OneGoal starter equipment; the second-place Bemidji Lady Lumberjacks get 20 sets and third-place Geauga Youth Hockey Association receives 10 sets.
Fueled by tireless volunteer efforts and nationwide initiatives like this, American hockey participation continues to grow. In 2014-15, a record number of players took to the ice across the United States, with USA Hockey reporting an all-time high of 533,172 registered players during its Annual Congress last week.
|Whatcom County Amateur Hockey Association||Working in conjunction with its local YMCA, Whatcom County Amateur Hockey Association created, staffed and operated a summer floor hockey program that welcomed new players to the sport. The association also hosted multiple try-hockey events, including a very popular mites party program, which is offered weekly and encourages 8U players to bring a friend to the rink. The association also participates in USA Hockey's 2-and-2 Challenge, which helps programs acquire new players and retain existing players.|
|Bemidji Little Lady Lumberjacks||The Little Lady Lumberjacks offer a free program designed to boost girls hockey participation within the Bemidji Youth Hockey Association. The program includes themed skating parties on holidays, team potluck dinners, special outdoor games and interaction opportunities with the Bemidji State University women's hockey team.|
|Geauga Youth Hockey Association||The Geauga Youth Hockey Association has made it a priority to educate its community on the role that youth hockey can play in creating healthy, happy kids. The association works with local schools to create hockey field trip opportunities for physical education classes and also hosts dollar days, during which skating and food is offered to the community for only $1.|
Bemidji Little Lady Lumberjacks
Geauga Youth Hockey Association