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Hockey is for Everyone

'Ice Warriors' tells story of U.S. sled hockey team

Monday, 11.10.2014 / 12:00 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Legendary college coach Jeff Sauer considered it a privilege to be given the opportunity to coach the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team to an unprecedented second straight gold medal last March in Sochi, Russia.

The incredible scene after the Americans had defeated Russia, 1-0, in the gold medal game at Shayba Arena was a moment for the ages when the 17-member team celebrated in their end of the ice once the final horn sounded while fans of both countries commended the effort with a standing ovation.

"I've never been involved with a group of athletes like I was the last three-and-a-half years with the sled hockey people," Sauer said. "It was a tremendous honor. The interesting thing about it was where it all happened; in Russia. In the old Soviet Union, handicapped individuals were kind of shunned and put to the side. This was a showcase not just for sled hockey, but handicapped folks all across the world. The crowds were unbelievable and the fact we won in front of a Russian crowd that had never seen handicapped individuals operate the way we did, was just fantastic."

Fans across the globe can witness the determination and courage of the U.S. sled hockey team members in a new 90-minute documentary entitled "Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey" that premiers Monday on PBS at 10 p.m. ET.


Oilers' Ference to march in Edmonton Pride parade

Tuesday, 06.03.2014 / 9:51 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference announced Tuesday he will march in the Edmonton Pride parade as a representative of the You Can Play team, along with the University of Alberta's Camp fYrefly youth leadership program.

The parade will take place Saturday.

The partnership for the parade was reached as a result of YCP's recent partnership with the University of Alberta's Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS), and is an extension of YCP's partnership with the NHL.


'Hockey Day on the Hill' set for March 5

Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 11:49 AM / Hockey is for Everyone

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League (NHL), USA Hockey, USA Warriors and the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club will join members of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 5 for Hockey Day on the Hill to discuss the state of hockey in the U.S., with a focus on how ice hockey can assist in the rehabilitation of injured veterans. The day will begin with a Congressional Hockey Caucus Briefing on Capitol Hill and conclude with a friendly, but competitive hockey game at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.

Monies raised from the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge will benefit a portion of the NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Scholarship, which awards a four-year academic scholarship to a participant of the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone™ (HIFE) official youth development program to attend any U.S. college or university. The NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholarship was developed in 2012 under the direction of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who serves on its board of directors.


Hockey world fondly remembers Brendan Burke

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 6:23 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

The hockey world was stunned and saddened four years ago by the passing of Brendan Burke, the son of current Calgary Flames president of hockey operations and acting general manager Brian Burke. Once a student manager for the Miami University hockey team, Brendan is remembered for his heart and courage as a pioneer who in a December 2009 article by ESPN's John Buccigross revealed he was gay, discussed the acceptance of his sexuality by his family and his team and spoke out against homophobia in professional sports.


Landeskog, Avs support You Can Play in video

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 2:51 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

In an effort to promote the You Can Play Project to the member schools of the Colorado High School Activities Association, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and a group of high school athletes from two area high schools released a video as part of the "You Can Play, Colorado!" initiative. In the video, released Wednesday, Landeskog appears with players from Mountain Vista High School (Highlands Ranch) and Regis Jesuit High School (Aurora).

Landeskog's participation means every team in the NHL has been represented in a You Can Play project in support of LGBT athletes, teammates and fans. The NHL is the only major sports league in North America to have every team participate in an effort specific to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community.


National Hockey League joins Spirit Day effort

Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 2:35 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

The National Hockey League has joined GLAAD, the You Can Play Project and millions of Americans by wearing purple for Spirit Day on Thursday.

Spirit Day takes a stand against bullying while showing support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Supporters wear purple or go purple online to help create a world where LGBT youth are celebrated and accepted. The League is also joining the social campaign to promote awareness of the challenges faced in the LGBT community.

You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes without regard to sexual orientation. It works to guarantee that athletes are provided a fair chance to compete, and are judged by other athletes and fans only by what they contribute to the sport or their team's success. Its mission is to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete's skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.


NHL, USA Hockey join in Congressional caucus

Wednesday, 04.24.2013 / 2:55 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- The National Hockey League and USA Hockey became partners several years ago in an effort to promote and grow the game from the grassroots level so it could climb the sports landscape in the United States.

Wednesday in Washington, D.C., leaders from the League and the sport's national governing body visited Capitol Hill to educate several political leaders on their initiatives and the game's growth and continued prosperity in the annual Congressional Hockey Caucus.

"It's an opportunity to bring attention to the fact that hockey is a great vehicle to give back to the community, to have young people build life skills, not just interest in hockey," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told following the hour-long briefing at the Rayburn House Office Building, located across Independence Avenue from the Capitol Building.

In addition, the NHL and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund announced the first two recipients of the Hockey is For Everyone four-year academic scholarship, which guarantees $6,200 per year for each recipient to attend a four-year college or university provided they maintain a 3.0 grade-point-average.


NHL, Thurgood Marshall College Fund announce scholarship recipients through Hockey is for Everyone

Ed Snider Hockey Foundation’s Richard Lucas and Fort Dupont Hockey Club’s Donald Shaw III receive four-year college scholarships

Wednesday, 04.24.2013 / 1:00 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

NEW YORK – Richard Lucas of the Ed Snider Hockey Foundation in Philadelphia and Donald Shaw III of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in Washington, D.C., are the recipients of the 2013 NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund academic scholarship to attend any four-year college or university in the U.S. this fall. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Thurgood Marshall College Fund Chief Financial Officer Velma R. Hart made the announcement today during a Congressional Hockey Caucus briefing on Capitol Hill that focused on the state of hockey in the U.S., including instructional hockey and safety in youth sports.

The academic scholarship is part of the partnership between the NHL and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for participants in the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone initiative, the League's official youth development program.


Zhongde Yu promoting hockey in China

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 3:10 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

Deborah Francisco - Staff Writer

When Zhongde Yu left China, he was an energized student pursuing a Masters degree in Canada. When he returned, he was an energized hockey coach in a country still discovering the sport.

Born in China, Zhongde Yu first strapped on skates when he moved to Montreal in 1996 to pursue a computer science degree at Concordia University. He quickly became captivated by this new, action-packed game that inundated Canadian culture.

"That was a special moment, when I witnessed the hockey fans gathered outside the Forum for the last game played there," Yu told "And when I heard that the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. Those are my first impressions of ice hockey in Canada."

While pursuing his studies and improving his English, Yu also began playing hockey, learning the game from friends and neighbors in Montreal.


At age 77, O'Ree has no plans to slow down

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 9:00 AM / Hockey is for Everyone

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

It's been more than 50 years since Willie O'Ree broke the NHL's color barrier on Jan. 18, 1958 with the Boston Bruins. The 15 years he's spent leading the National Hockey League's Hockey is for Everyone program have only cemented the legacy of the man who played professionally for 20 years with the use of only one good eye.

But don't call Willie O'Ree the Jackie Robinson of hockey.

"The media called me that. I never said I was Jackie Robinson. I didn't have to go through a lot of the racism and prejudice and bigotry that Mr. Robinson went through," O'Ree told "But it was there. Having slurs and racial remarks directed towards you, not only by players but fans in the stands. I let it in one ear and out the other. I just wanted to play hockey to the best of my ability."

O'Ree actually met Robinson twice, once as a 14-year-old baseball player visiting New York and years later as a member of the Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League.

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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday