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NHL celebrates 'Hockey is for Everyone' Month

Ambassadors Willie O'Ree and Tony McKegney to take part in grassroots events

Monday, 02.02.2009 / 2:05 PM / Hockey is for Everyone
NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League will celebrate Hockey is for Everyone month during February with various events involving NHL clubs, players, alumni, players and non-profit youth hockey programs. NHL ambassadors Willie O'Ree and Tony McKegney will travel throughout North America to promote the initiative, which is committed to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey. The events will coincide with the celebration of Black History Month. 

As part of the celebration, NHL.com's "The Hockey Show" will air features on the NHL's involvement at the grassroots level. These include Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin conducting a clinic with Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club; Chicago Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien and McKegney visiting with kids from AHAI Diversity; San Jose Sharks forward Mike Grier and O'Ree skating with kids from Sharks Ice-Oakland; Washington Capitals forward Donald Brashear skating with Kids on Ice; and O'Ree visiting kids from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. NHL Network™ will air a special Black History Month roundtable featuring Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jamal Mayers and McKegney. Hockey fans will be able to learn more about Hockey is for Everyone through special features on NHL.com. 

The NHL has created two special public service announcements (PSAs) to promote the Hockey is for Everyone initiative and Black History Month. The Hockey is for Everyone PSA shows that the sport of hockey is accessible to anyone and it is supported with messaging from several NHL players -- including Brashear, Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. The Black History Month PSA showcases the history of black players in the NHL, from Willie O'Ree's debut in 1958 to current stars Nigel Dawes of the New York Rangers, Trevor Daley of the Dallas Stars and Dustin Byfuglien of the Chicago Blackhawks. Both PSAs will be running on NHL Network, NHL.com and in arenas throughout the month.

Below is additional information on events happening around the League:
  • Feb. 4, Washington -- The Washington Capitals' Brashear and Nicklas Backstrom and Los Angeles Kings' Wayne Simmonds join Willie O'Ree to skate with kids from the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, the oldest minority youth hockey program in the U.S.
  • Feb. 5, Calgary -- The Calgary Flames host a Hockey is for Everyone night during their game against the Chicago Blackhawks. The club will host 20 individuals from the non-profit organization Immigrant Services Calgary.
  • Feb. 9, New York -- Los Angeles Kings forward Simmonds hosts a meet-and-greet with kids from the Ice Hockey in Harlem diversity program.
  • Feb. 9, New Jersey -- The New Jersey Devils host a Hockey is for Everyone night during their game against the New York Rangers. O'Ree will be on-hand for the ceremonial puck-drop, which also will include John Oduya, Bryce Salvador and Kevin Weekes of the Devils and Dawes of the New York Rangers.
  • Feb 11 -- 12, Nashville -- The Nashville Predators host a two-day Hockey is for Everyone fan-fest with forward Joel Ward and O'Ree -- both visit with students from Vanderbilt University.
  • Feb. 12, Los Angeles -- The Los Angeles Kings host a night during their game against the Calgary Flames, on which McKegney will drop the puck with Simmonds and Iginla facing off. McKegney also will participate in community events with Simmonds.
  • Feb 13-15, Detroit -- To coincide with USA Hockey Weekend Across America, the fifth annual Hockey in the Hood Tournament takes place. NHL diversity programs will showcase their talent at the largest urban youth hockey tournament in America.
  • Feb 13-15, Chicago -- The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate USA Hockey Weekend Across America with Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI). Events include free open skates and sled hockey games at local rinks.
  • Feb. 19-21, Campbellton, NB -- O'Ree is special guest on CBC's broadcast of Hockey Day In Canada.
  • Feb. 26, Washington -- The Washington Capitals host their Hockey is for Everyone night during their game against the Atlanta Thrashers.
  • Feb 27-28, Calgary -- O'Ree and McKegney participate in the HEROS diversity program Friendship Tournament.
About Hockey Is For Everyone
Hockey is for Everyone is a part of the NHL Foundation, the National Hockey League's charitable and community relations organization, and a major component of the league's youth hockey programming. Hockey is for Everyone provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children, of all backgrounds, opportunities to play hockey. Since its inception, Hockey is for Everyone has exposed more than 45,000 boys and girls to unique hockey experiences. This initiative is made possible in part by an official partnership between the National Hockey League and USA Hockey, the support of NHL clubs, and the National Hockey League Players' Association's Goals and Dreams program.


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