Red Wings announce major $1M initiative to grow youth hockey in the city of Detroit

Posted at 1:41 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 13:41:45-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit Red Wings in partnership with the NHL, NHLPA and Detroit Red Wings Foundation announced Tuesday a new initiative to grow hockey and youth development in the city of Detroit.

The "Learn, Play, Score" platform is a $1 million commitment to grow and expand youth hockey across the city.

Through partnerships with several organizations – including the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Parks and Recreation, Detroit Pulbic Schools community District, EverFi and the Mike Ilitch School of Business, over 30,000 kids in the city are expected to experience hockey through a variety of events over the next two years.

“This is all about empowering the youth in our city. Hockey is more than just a sport. It is about teamwork, dedication, maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit. We are committed to being a leader in finding innovative ways to connect younger generations to hockey in the community, and the Detroit Red Wings Learn, Play, Score program will provide that very opportunity,” Red Wings President and CEO Christopher Ilitch said in a statement. “It all starts with the kids of this city – the next generation – and we’re looking forward to an exciting two years as the program takes shape and offers them the dynamic new experiences they deserve.”

“We are thrilled that the Ilitch Organization and Detroit Red Wings are engaging the city of Detroit to grow and make hockey more welcoming for everyone in the area,” said Kim Davis NHL EVP, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs. “It is critically important to give back to cities like Detroit to make sure we are collaborating with them to develop opportunities for those who need it most.”

The program will incorporate 79 DPSCD elementary and middle schools, 12 Detroit parks & rec "fun centers," and four Boys & Girls clubs across Detroit next year.

Ice rinks in the newly-formed Detroit Hockey Rink Collaborative – including the East Side Hockey Ice Arena, Jack Adams Memorial Arena and outdoor rink at Clark Park – will each offer affordable learn to skate and Little Wings play programs.

There will also be non-traditional hockey programs, including Street Hockey in the D, an after-school league and much more.

"Along with the NHL and the Red Wings, we’re extremely proud to be supporting the formation of the Detroit Red Wings Learn, Play, Score program,” said Mathieu Schneider, NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director. “Exposing children to the game of hockey, both on and off the ice, is something that the Players and the NHLPA have long valued and this project is a perfect example of the positive impact that the Industry Growth Fund is having across the league.”