Minnesota Hockey, in partnership with Total Hockey and the Minnesota Wild Foundation, announced today the start of the seventh season for the Gear Up Minnesota! equipment grant program. Gear Up Minnesota! was formed in 2010 in an effort to make the game of hockey more accessible for new players.
Gear Up Minnesota! has played a major role in the recruiting and retention activities across the state, distributing over 2,600 sets of starter equipment to nearly every community hockey association in Minnesota. Gear Up Minnesota! is touted by Total Hockey as the longest running and successful program of its kind in the United States.
“In just a few years, 80% of Minnesota Hockey's youth associations have participated and received over $500,000 of equipment through Gear Up Minnesota! grants,” said Katy Benoit of Total Hockey. “We are thrilled to provide the exceptional volunteers at the grassroots level with the tools they need to grow the greatest sport on earth. We're also very proud that Gear Up Minnesota! has helped them give a record number of kids the chance to play hockey.”
This season Minnesota Hockey will continue to offer youth hockey programs with the option of applying for starter skater equipment or a starter goalie set. Each set of starter equipment provides youth skaters with a hockey bag, helmet, breezers, gloves, elbow and shin pads. The goalie sets include a goalie glove, blocker and leg pads.
“As we continue our efforts to get more kids playing our game, we want to make sure kids are getting the opportunities to try all of the positions on the rink,” said Glen Andresen, Minnesota Hockey’s Executive Director. “Thanks to Total Hockey and Gear Up Minnesota, our community associations are able to give kids ages 4-9 the chance to try goaltending without any additional costs for individual players or parents.”
It takes planning, creativity, and hard working volunteers for associations to be effective in growing the game of hockey. By providing them with sets of starter equipment for players ages four to nine, Gear Up Minnesota provides associations with a great way to encourage new families to try the sport of hockey.
All youth hockey associations in Minnesota are encouraged to apply for a Gear Up Minnesota! equipment grant. Applications will be accepted through February 28, 2017 and will be reviewed next spring by a granting committee consisting of representatives from Minnesota Hockey, USA Hockey and contributing partners.
A special thank you to the Minnesota Wild Foundation, Total Hockey, Subway, Northwest Designs and our other partners for making Gear Up Minnesota! a success.