The eighth annual Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by CCM, concluded last Sunday (Feb. 22) and was a success by all accounts. The nationwide event, which took place Feb. 20-22, was a three-day celebration of hockey that included hundreds of thousands of fans wearing their favorite hockey jerseys, more than 10,000 boys and girls trying hockey for the first time all across the nation, millions of viewers watching NBC’s Hockey Day in America broadcast, and the celebration of local hockey heroes in communities throughout the country.
"This year's Hockey Weekend Across America was perhaps the most memorable yet," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "It was wonderful to see the 35th anniversary of Miracle on Ice as part of the celebration and we’re particularly thrilled with the record number of new kids and families that had a chance to experience our game for the very first time."
Each of the three days associated with Hockey Weekend Across America had a theme, including Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day on Friday (Feb. 20), sponsored by ShopUSAHockey.com; Try Hockey Day on Saturday (Feb. 21), sponsored by the NHL; and Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes Day on Sunday (Feb. 22).
On Friday, fans were encouraged to tweet at USA Hockey using #HockeyJerseyDay to share photos of themselves, their friends and colleagues wearing their favorite hockey jerseys. Fans also submitted pictures on USA Hockey's Facebook and Instagram accounts. To see a collection of images from the day, click here.
On Saturday, 10,200 children from across the nation were introduced to hockey for the first time at more than 300 Try Hockey for Free events, presented by Kraft, in 47 states. Saturday's turnout eclipsed the previous February Try Hockey for Free Day participation record, set in 2013, by more than 4,000. Through the hashtag #TryHockey, fans submitted pictures on social media, some of which can be found here.
On Sunday, local teams and associations honored their hockey heroes in various ways and fans shared stories of their local hockey heroes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com by using the hashtag #HockeyHeroes.
Twitter played a big part in the Hockey Weekend Across America celebration, including more than 48 million impressions that reached nearly 40 million accounts. USA Hockey’s national Twitter account alone produced 3.8 million impressions, with over 1.5 million of those impressions occurring on the 35th Anniversary of Miracle on Ice. In addition, HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com saw total unique visitors increase 125 percent compared to 2014, while web traffic increased by 100 percent with 60 percent of all visitors coming from mobile devices.
RELIVE THE MIRACLE
Sunday (Feb. 22) marked the 35th anniversary of Miracle on Ice, when the 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team defeated the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York. In front of 5,000 spectators on Saturday night (Feb. 21), all living members of the gold-medal winning team relived the event by reuniting in Lake Placid for the first time since their historic win. The reunion also paid tribute to teammate Bob Suter, who passed away at the age of 57 on Sept. 9, 2014.
NBC's HOCKEY DAY IN AMERICA
The fifth edition of NBC’s “Hockey Day in America” commemorated the Miracle on Ice anniversary on Sunday by relocating its studio coverage to Lake Placid, New York. The day included live broadcasts of three NHL games (two on NBC, one on NBCSN) and content in and around the games showcasing hockey at all levels.
NHL YOUTH OFFICIALS PROGRAM SETS RECORD
As part of Hockey Weekend Across America, a record number of aspiring youth officials had the chance to meet and learn from current NHL officials in conjunction with NHL games in American markets over the course of the three days.
CCM "TACKS ARE BACK" SWEEPSTAKES WINNERS
Hockey Weekend Across America also included the CCM "Tacks Are Back" Sweepstakes. The grand-prize winners – Scott Latti (Guilford, Conn.), Erik Koper (Newton, Mass.), and Linda Weissler (Los Angeles, Calif.) – each received a hockey stick, helmet/facemask combo, hockey bag and skates. First-place winners Andy Knauf (Albany, Wis.), Ryan Platner (Syracuse, N.Y.), and Stephen Saunders (Collinsville, Va.), collected CCM Tacks hockey sticks. Finally, 30 second-place winners were issued USA Hockey hats. The list includes Jake Ashkinos (Dix Hills, N.Y.), Barb Boser (Owatonna, Minn.), Scott Bredin (Kenosha, Wis.), Danny Briggs (Mechanicsville, Va.), Daniel Brooks (Georgetown, Ind.), Stephanie Crane (Clio, Mich.), Carolyn Daley (Coral Springs, Fla.), Natalie Douglass (Parma Heights, Ohio), Julie Ewing (Salt Lake City, Utah), Al Green (San Antonio, Texas), Garrett Heller (Dallas, Texas), Matthew Kasisky (Leesport, Pa.), Greg Korczak (Las Vegas, Nev.), Rita Malone (Hawthorne, Calif.), Kelly Manning (Burlington, Iowa), Kelli McKay (Atwater, Ohio), Carol Moore (College Station, Texas), Daniel Pallin (Grand Rapids, Minn.), Mark Petree (Warren, Mich.), Tracy Price (Mountain House, Calif.), Devon Raap (Muskegon, Mich.), Frances Scannapicro (Holmdel, N.J.), Mary Ann Seiler (Surprise, Ariz.), Cortney Sneller (Orange, Calif.), Chris Van Valkenburg (Yukon, Okla.), Larry Viernum (South Chicago Heights, Ill.), Chris Vilage (Morristown, N.J.), Judi Walters (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Stephen Watts (Lake Worth, Fla.), and Brandon Wiszowaty (Commack, N.Y.).
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 … Select members of the gold-medal winning 2015 U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team were honored at NHL games in Chicago and Minnesota. The squad earned the gold medal in early January at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women's World Championship in Buffalo, New York ... Over 75,000 fans attended USHL games from Feb. 19-22, the best four-day span in the history of the league … USA Hockey’s two national Try Hockey for Free Days this season, which included Liberty Mutual Insurance and Total Hockey as official sponsors, included 25,005 participants.