COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The 11th annual Hockey Weekend Across America proved to be a success on every level, highlighted by 13,460 children experiencing Try Hockey For Free Day at 379 rinks nationwide on Saturday (March 3).
Each day of the celebration featured a special theme. Friday (March 2) was Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day, sponsored by Chipotle, during which fans across the country showed their hockey pride by wearing their prized jerseys. Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes Day capped the weekend on Sunday (March 4) with recognition of those who power the game at grassroots levels. Sandwiched between was Saturday’s (March 3) national Try Hockey For Free Day, when children ages 4-9 were introduced to hockey for the first time with complimentary equipment, ice time and encouragement from certified USA Hockey instructors.
The Colorado Rampage, a USA Hockey Model Association, led the nation in THFF participants, welcoming 351 children in three sessions to the Monument (Colorado) Ice Rinks. The Indy Junior Fuel (Indianapolis, Indiana), with 271 participants, and the New Mexico Ice Hockey Foundation, with 150 participants, rounded out the top three.
On a state-by-state basis, Michigan led the way 1,373 participants, followed by Pennsylvania (1,064) and Wisconsin (1,021).
The NHL, AHL, ECHL and USHL provided outstanding support to help drive attention to local Try Hockey opportunities. Additionally, several NHL clubs and other leagues supported the initiative by promoting and organizing events of their own. Pure Hockey and Liberty Mutual Insurance are official sponsors of Try Hockey For Free Days.
Also part of Hockey Weekend Across America, 34 young officials had the chance to meet and learn from current NHL officials in conjunction with 17 NHL games in American markets over the course of the event. For more information on USA Hockey’s Meet the Officials program, click here.
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 ... For more information surrounding the weekend, click here ... The hashtag #HWAA was used on social media in association with the event .... A total of 24,836 new players were part of USA Hockey's two national Try Hockey For Free Days this season. Now in their eighth season, USA Hockey's Try Hockey for Free Days have introduced more than 177,000 children to the sport.