Rampage, CSC benefit from NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams initiative
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Andrew Sherman got a very nice surprise last month.
The owner of the Colorado Sports Center learned his facility will receive 25 sets of new hockey equipment from the National Hockey League Players Association’s (NHLPA) Goals & Dreams fund.
“To be honest, I kind of forgot we sent in an application,” he said.
The application was filled out more than a year earlier and was carefully considered, along with other applications, by Goals & Dreams staff. Better late than never, an email from the NHLPA informing Colorado Sports Center about the equipment donation was sent June 1.
The $15,000 worth of equipment — $600 per set — hadn’t arrived at Colorado Sports Center by early July. When it does get to the twin-rink facility in Monument, it will be used for Colorado Sports Center’s extensive entry-level hockey programs for youths.
Shoulder pads, shin guards, elbow pads, gloves, pants, stakes, sticks, helmet/cages, garters/jocks, jills, neck protectors, socks, jerseys and bags were ordered from the NHLPA.
Al Pedersen, who played eight seasons (1986-1994) in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, Hartford Whalers and Minnesota North Stars, is Colorado Sports Center’s general manager and architect of the facility’s persistent push to grow the game. He’s thrilled about the new — and free — equipment that’s on its way.
“We can’t thank the NHLPA enough for the donation to help our families,” he said. “The NHLPA has given us a great opportunity to increase our initiatives to grow youth hockey.”
Pedersen’s programs for new players include the Little Rookies, 8U Mites, recreation leagues and adult hockey. Little Rookies offers a free introduction to hockey for the youngest of new players and an additional two levels of development before they graduate to Colorado Sports Center’s 8U recreation program.
“Al, or Coach Al as he’s known around here, has an infectious love for hockey and he passes that on to hundreds of new players, ages 3 to adult, every year,” Sherman said. “It’s great to have the NHLPA support our programs.”
Colorado Sports Center has participated in USA Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free Day and Hockey Day in America programs for several years.
It led the nation in February in the number of new players who participated in the Try Hockey for Free Day, beating facilities in larger areas.
It also partners with the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL club’s Mile High Mites program, creates hockey opportunities for area YMCA camps and school physical education classes, makes good use of equipment donations from Les Franklin of the Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth, and works with 4KidzSport, a national organization that wants to “Help Put Kids in the Game.”
The NHLPA launched the Goals & Dreams fund in 1999 to give players in the union a chance to give back to the game they love.
Since then, sets of hockey equipment have been donated to 70,000 children in 34 countries and funds have been used to renovate and build hockey arenas world-wide.
More than $23 million in equipment and money has been donated to grassroots hockey, making it the largest program of its kind in the world.
As for the Colorado Sports Center donation, “the players are pleased to help give more youth in the area an opportunity to play hockey with this donation of equipment through the NHLPA Goals & Dreams’ program,” said Devin Smith, NHLPA Goals & Dreams chairman.
Matthew Langen, manager of community relations for Goals & Dreams, praised Colorado Sports Center’s efforts to enrich the lives of area children.
“Giving children a chance to play hockey is not only important to build strong bodies, but also build strong minds,” he said.
— Steve Stein