NEW YORK – NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman today announced plans to join forces with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) on an entirely new four-year academic scholarship for participants of the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone™ (HIFE) initiative, the League's official youth development program. The scholarship, slated to launch in 2013, will provide opportunities for qualified HIFE participants to attend any of the country's 47 public Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs).
Commissioner Bettman's announcement was made during a Congressional Hockey Caucus briefing on Capitol Hill that focused on the positive impact community-based hockey programs have on the development of essential life skills, character and academic success. The announcement comes just weeks following Bettman's appointment to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund board of directors.
"The Hockey is for Everyone initiative gives young people the opportunity to be exposed to hockey, which acts as a catalyst in building character and developing life skills through the lessons learned on the ice," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "Now, through our partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, we are extending our commitment by helping young men and women achieve their academic goals."
"The emergence of a partnership such as this between the National Hockey League and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund provides an opportunity for African American youth to expand their horizons and participate in a sport that has not been historically embraced. This not only serves as an opportunity for more engagement with the sport of hockey, but it is also a 'pathway to higher education,'" said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
The NHL and TMCF will collaborate over the next year to design and define the scholarship parameters, including the formation of an aggressive development plan. A central component to the fundraising effort will be the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge charity game pitting Members of Congress and staff against registered lobbyists.
To date, through the Congressional Hockey Challenge, more than $100,000 has been raised in support of the new scholarship. This year's event will take place March 4, 2012 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. For more information on the event, please visit congressionalhockeychallenge.com.
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. The initiative is supported by NHL member clubs, players, NHL alumni and fans. To date, Hockey is for Everyone™ has exposed over 45,000 boys and girls to unique hockey experiences.