Minnesota Hockey, in partnership with Total Hockey and the Minnesota Wild Foundation, announced today the start of the fifth 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 1,800 sets of starter equipment to 101 unique community associations in just four years, making it the most successful program of its kind in the United States. This past season the program also began providing sets of starter goalie equipment, with the purpose of encouraging more young players to try the position.
“Our mission is to spread the joy of hockey by providing starter equipment to associations, helping them get new players on the ice and creating more vibrant hockey communities," said Katy Benoit of Total Hockey. “We look forward to continuing to fulfill that mission for years to come!”
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 equipment for players ages four to nine, the associations are able to significantly reduce the start-up costs for families that are new to hockey which increases their chances of recruiting those families.
Each set of starter equipment provides youth skaters with a hockey bag, helmet, breezers, shoulder pads, gloves, elbow and shin pads. The goalie sets include a goalie glove, blocker and leg pads.
All youth hockey associations in Minnesota are encouraged to apply for a Gear Up Minnesota! equipment grant. Applications will be accepted through February 28, 2015 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, Shock Doctor, West Bend Insurance, Subway and our other partners for making Gear Up Minnesota! a success.
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