The Gear Up Minnesota equipment grant program is taking on a new look in 2018. Fueled by Minnesota Hockey’s new partnership with DICK’s Sporting Goods, the program, which has been outfitting young hockey players since 2010, is poised to make a significant impact on recruiting efforts this next season.
“We believe every boy and girl in Minnesota should be playing hockey,” said Minnesota Hockey President Dave Margenau. “It was clear to us that DICK’S Sporting Goods shared this vision and we couldn’t be more excited to have them on board in our mission to provide hockey gear to our associations so we can get more and more youngsters into our amazing hockey culture in Minnesota.”
The Gear Up Minnesota program began during the 2010-11 season and has become one of the most successful programs at increasing the amount of Minnesota’s 8 & Under players, which last year surpassed 18,000 for the first time ever. Over the seven years since Gear Up Minnesota has been implemented, more than 3,000 sets of starter gear have been distributed to over 120 of the 150 Minnesota Hockey community associations.
Gear Up Minnesota will continue to assist community associations in Minnesota by providing gear to new players. However, instead of sets of starter gear (which did not include skates or sticks), associations will now be provided with gift cards to purchase the equipment most needed by the associations. This can include skates, sticks, helmets, starter goalie equipment or any other hockey gear they deem necessary.
“Partnering with Minnesota Hockey to make the game of hockey more accessible to the kids here in Minnesota aligns perfectly with our goal to inspire and enable sports participation,” said Matt Teske, Community Marketing Manager, DICK’S Sporting Goods. “We’re excited to help make hockey more affordable for families across the state.”
Associations must apply for the Gear Up Minnesota grant by submitting an application that states what growth initiatives they are employing, what equipment is most needed and what the equipment will be used for. The application process is currently open and is set to close on June 15.
Associations that earn grants will be notified in July and will receive their gift cards in early September. Gift cards can be used to purchase equipment online, or at any of the eight DICK’S Sporting Goods locations in Minnesota.