New Sticks = New Players

The USA Hockey Foundation’s “It Starts With A Stick” program helps new players love the game

THE USA Hockey Foundation’s It Starts With A Stick program has kick-started participation for thousands of young hockey players across the country during the past two seasons. The response at the grass roots level has been overwhelmingly positive.

“My 4-year-old was over the moon and we quickly had to get a pop up net and some balls to play outside,” said Amanda Rochelle of Huntsville, Ala. “And then we had to enroll in the local Learn to Play Hockey program. He’s hooked.”

The program, which entered its third season on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, is a nationwide appeal for support in raising $150,000 to fund the effort that will result in distributing 12,000 sticks free of charge to participants of the Try Hockey For Free event in February as part of Hockey Week Across America.

“The stick campaign is one of the more important initiatives our Foundation has undertaken to grow the game,” says USA Hockey Foundation board member Jack Norqual. And he should know. As the owner of Ice In Paradise—a new, two-sheet facility in Santa Barbara, Calif.—he has experienced growth in his youth hockey program thanks to the sticks. “Parents love it when their kids receive their sticks and they immediately are excited to become a part of the hockey family.”

Carrie Arvin in Colorado Springs, Colo., has sentiments similar to Norqual. “My son was so excited about his hockey stick, he slept with it that night,” Arvin said. “He brought it to school on the following Monday to share with his class, and he still plays with it every day.”

“Hockey has been good to so many of us,” continued Norqual. “This campaign is a meaningful way to give back to the game and inspire the next generation of American players.”



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