Wings join Learn, Play, Score program to bring hockey to kids
The Red Wings, in conjunction with some high-profile partners, are attempting to benefit more than 30,000 students of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
The Learn, Play, Score program was introduced at a press conference at Little Caesars arena before the team’s Tuesday night’s 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Red Wings are joining forces with the NHL, the NHL Players Association, the Detroit Public Schools Community District, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Parks & Recreation Department and the newly former Detroit Hockey Rink Collaborative, which includes Jack Adams Memorial Arena, the East Side Hockey Arena and the outdoor rink at Clark Park, the three hockey rinks within the city of Detroit.
They will provide the students of 79 Community District elementary and middle schools the means, space and equipment to play street hockey; the opportunity to learn to skate at the three Detroit rinks and Little Caesars Arena, and STEM-based educational programs using the sport of hockey and an E-Sports component that will involve the computer hockey game NHL 2020.
There’s even a program for youngsters who aren’t interesting in playing hockey that involves the tools to learn about the business of sports and potential careers that don’t involve playing sports.
At the press conference were Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings as well as Red Wings Governor and CEO. He was joined by Kim Davis, NHL Executive Vice President for Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs; Rob Zepp, NHL Players Association Manager of Special Projects, and Kevin Brown, Red Wings and Red Wings Foundation Director of Community Relations.
“The goal is to empower the kids with skills that will carry them and support them for a lifetime,” Ilitch said. “… For us, this is about impacting one neighborhood at a time, one school at a time and one kid at a time.”
Learn, Play, Score will begin as a two-year pilot program funded by $1 million from the NHLPA Industry Growth Fund.
“The NHL Players Association is excited to be a part of this important initiative taking place in Detroit,” Zepp said.
Davis stressed the importance of getting more minorities involved in hockey.
“In Detroit, 80 percent of the city residents are black, and half of those residents are under 18,” she said. “The City of Detroit represents an enormous opportunity for our sport.”
Brown said that all levels of Red Wings personnel, including players, will also be involved.