On Saturday, February 25, a record 13,256 children from across the nation were introduced to hockey for the first time at 382 Try Hockey For Free events.
The Try Hockey For Free day was held in conjunction with the first ever Hockey Week Across America, which commemorated the 10th anniversary of Hockey Weekend Across America. 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."
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 helped 123 kids enjoy their first youth hockey experience.
In Minnesota, over 600 children participated in events across 26 communities. Three locations including Shakopee (60), Woodbury (57) and Sibley (42) hosted over 40 young boys and girls.
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.