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First Ever Hockey Week Across America Proves Memorable

By, 03/03/17, 9:10AM MST


Record 13,000-Plus Participate in Try Hockey For Free Events

The first ever Hockey Week Across America, which commemorated the 10th anniversary of Hockey Weekend Across America, concluded Sunday (Feb. 26) and was a success by all accounts. The year's week-long nationwide event featured NBC's Hockey Day in America broadcast, fans young and old wearing their favorite hockey jerseys, over 13,000 boys and girls trying hockey for the first time, and the celebration of local hockey heroes.

"It was wonderful to see the celebration of our great game all across the country," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "We're especially delighted to see a record number of new kids and families have the chance to experience hockey for the very first time."

Each day had a theme, including individual days to salute players (Monday), coaches (Tuesday), officials (Wednesday) and local rinks (Thursday), as well as the traditional themes of Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey Day (Friday), Try Hockey Day (Saturday) and Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes (Sunday).

The week-long celebration started on Sunday (Feb. 19) with the seventh edition of NBC's "Hockey Day in America" coverage, which included relocating its studio coverage to PPG Place in downtown Pittsburgh. The day included live broadcasts of four NHL games on NBCSN and content in and around the games showcasing hockey at all levels. 

Friday (Feb. 24) was 10th annual #HockeyJerseyDay

From Monday through Thursday, fans, teams and associations were encouraged to 'salute' players, coaches, officials and local rinks on social media using the hashtags #SaluteToPlayers, #SaluteToCoaches, #SaluteToOfficials and #SaluteToRinks.

On Friday, fans showed their love for hockey by sharing photos of themselves, their friends and colleagues wearing their favorite hockey jerseys on social media using the hashtag #HockeyJerseyDay. To see a collection of images from the day, click here

Then on Saturday, a record 13,256 children from across the nation were introduced to hockey for the first time at 382 Try Hockey For Free events. Saturday's turnout eclipsed the previous February Try Hockey For Free participation record, set last year, by over 1,000. The NHL, its member clubs and affiliated development leagues assisted in driving attention to local Try Hockey opportunities as several teams organized their own successful Try Hockey events. The New York Rangers helped 259 kids try hockey for the first time while the Dallas Stars drove 152 kids to their local events and the Islanders helpd 123 kids enjoy their first youth hockey experience. Using the hashtag #TryHockey, fans submitted pictures on social media, some of which can be found here.

Try Hockey For Free Highlights

Top Five Sites

Site No. of Participants
Florida Hospital Center Ice (FL) 200
Colorado Rampage (CO) 183
Team Brooks Youth Hockey Association (NV) 155
Wichita Youth Hockey Association (KS) 122
Everett Youth Hockey (WA) 118

Top Three States

State No. of Participants
Michigan 1,288
Wisconsin 928
New York 878

The celebration culminated on Sunday as local teams, associations and leagues honored their local hockey heroes in various ways and fans shared stories of their local hockey heroes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and by using the hashtag #HockeyHeroes.

As part of Hockey Week Across America, 26 young 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 event. 

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 full information surrounding the weekend, click here ... The hashtag #HWAA on social media was used in association with the event .... A total of 26,838 new players were part of USA Hockey's two national Try Hockey For Free Days this season, which include Liberty Mutual Insurance and Total Hockey as official sponsors.

HWAA Daily Themes

Date Theme
Sunday, Feb. 19 NBC's Hockey Day in America
Monday, Feb. 20 Salute to Players
Tuesday, Feb. 21 Salute to Coaches
Wednesday, Feb. 22 Salute to Officials
Thursday, Feb. 23 Salute to Local Rinks
Friday, Feb. 24 Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day
Saturday, Feb. 25 Try Hockey Day
Sunday, Feb. 26 Celebrate Hockey Heroes


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