COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – The 13th annual Hockey Week Across America proved to be a success on every level, highlighted by 10,450 children experiencing Try Hockey For Free Day presented by SportsEngine at 328 rinks nationwide last Saturday (Feb. 22).
“Hockey Week Across America showcases every level of our sport and shares hockey with new audiences, and by every measure, it was once again a success,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “It was a great week of celebration and we’re appreciative of the engagement from all the various stakeholders involved in the game.”
NBC Sports kicked off Hockey Week Across America on Feb. 16 with its Hockey Day in America coverage that included nine-plus hours of hockey coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network. The following days included Salute to Players, Salute to Coaches, Salute to Officials and Salute to Local Rinks. Each day, the hockey community was invited to share their stories and memories to salute different aspects of hockey through social media and other means.
On Friday, Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey Day encouraged fans to wear their favorite hockey jerseys nationwide. Chipotle helped USA Hockey celebrate with its buy one get one free offer for fans wearing hockey jerseys.
Try Hockey events were held in 48 states on Saturday, 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.
Michigan led all states with 38 rinks hosting Try Hockey For Free events. Wisconsin with 28 rinks, and Minnesota with 27 rinks rounded out the top-three states. USA Hockey’s Try Hockey For Free days are designed to provide a national platform for introducing children to the sport, free of charge.
|Sun., Feb. 16||Hockey Day In America (NBC)|
|Mon., Feb. 17||Salute to Players|
|Tues., Feb. 18||Salute to Coaches|
|Wed., Feb. 19||Salute to Officials|
|Thurs., Feb. 20||Salute to Local Rinks|
|Fri., Feb. 21||Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey Day|
|Sat., Feb. 22||Try Hockey Day|
|Sun., Feb. 23||Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes Day|
Sunday’s Celebrate Local Heroes Day highlighted volunteers and role models that have made an impact on hockey at the local level.
Throughout the week, USA Hockey collaborated with American-based NHL clubs to host “Meet the NHL Officials” program. A total of 40 young officials attended 20 NHL games and had the opportunity to speak with an NHL official.
NOTES: CCM Hockey, Chipotle, and Pure Hockey are official sponsors of Try Hockey For Free days … To date, USA Hockey has introduced more than 213,950 children to the sport through its national Try Hockey For Free days … As part of Hockey Week Across America, USA Hockey celebrated anniversaries of the 1960 Olympic men’s gold-medal team, 1980 Olympic men’s gold-medal team, 2018 Olympic women’s gold-medal team, and 10th year of the American Development Model.