Saturday (Nov. 4) was a great day for hockey in America as 11,376 children, including 962 in Minnesota, were introduced to the sport for the first time through USA Hockey's Try Hockey For Free Day. The skating scene played out in 451 host arenas nationwide as part of the seventh annual Come Play Hockey Month.
Try Hockey events were held in 47 states, with equipment provided for children to borrow free of charge. Thousands of USA Hockey-certified coaches provided instruction and encouragement.
A total of 47 youth hockey associations in Minnesota hosted events at 49 locations. Seven associations attracted 40 participants or more, including Northern Lakes Youth Hockey Association which hosted a state leading 74 total new players at events in Breezy Point and Crosby. Armstrong Cooper Youth Hockey Association had the largest single-site turnout with 57 players attending their event at New Hope Ice Arena.
"It's great to see all the smiling faces as children learn new skills and their parents watch them experience something they can enjoy for a lifetime," said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. "Volunteers nationwide deserve a ton of credit. Their energy and passion make it a memorable day for the participants and their parents. We're also grateful for the support from the NHL and its member clubs."
USA Hockey, which conducts two national Try Hockey For Free Days each season, will conduct its second event Saturday, March 3, 2018, the weekend following the XXIII Olympic Winter Games closing ceremony, as part of Hockey Weekend Across America. Interested rinks and youth hockey associations can visit USAHockeyProgramServices.com to register as a host site.