Lyndsey Fry showcased her USA hockey jersey and silver medal Wednesday afternoon while celebrating International Olympic Day with students at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale.
Fry, a Coyotes executive and broadcaster, won the medal at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, as a member of the United States' women's hockey team.
"We talked about dreams, setting goals and all that good stuff," Fry said of her presentation to the students. "Everybody was hyped. It was awesome. I think the coolest part was just seeing how excited the girls were. A lot of them were surprised that there was a girl Olympic hockey player. That's why I do this. That's why I love doing this. Just inspiring that next generation."
Ivan Gilreath, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, was thrilled the students celebrated the day with Fry.
"To have an actual Olympic athlete who got a silver medal here is amazing," Gilreath said. "It's just a tremendous opportunity for our kids."
The students played street hockey prior to Fry's visit, thanks to multiple clinics presented by members of the Coyotes Hockey Development team. The clinics spanned kindergarten through sixth grade. Every student received an autographed photo of Fry, shown playing in the 2014 Olympics.
Fry's presence was especially important for the young girls, Gilreath said. When Fry began playing hockey, she was one of only 25 girls playing in Arizona. Yet, she reached the pinnacle of the sport. Today, Fry also runs the Arizona Kachinas Girls' Hockey Association, which boasts more than 700 girls.
"I would hope for all kids -- but in particular the young ladies -- that they listen to Lyndsey's story," Gilreath said. "About how she was four years old and started playing hockey just with boys. And then, as she got a little bit older and realized the NHL didn't allow women, she saw the Olympics as her goal. So, I hope the young ladies get that: if you have a dream about doing something, you can do it. You've just got to work hard. Don't let anybody steal your dream. And if you work hard enough, it can become a reality."
Gilreath's sentiment was echoed in Fry's speech.
"It is so worth it to stick with whatever dream you have," she said. "This is something I've wanted ever since I was a little girl. You're going to face adversity. You're going to have challenges. You may stumble, but if you stick with it, you're going to be in a good spot. So, that's what I left them with at the end -- the successes in the journey, and how much you learn along the way."
As for that medal?
"I'm never shy about (sharing it with the kids)," Fry said. "I don't keep it super close to the chest because I want the kids to be able to see it and feel it, to be able to look at it and be like, 'Wow, this is someone who grew up close to me who was able to accomplish something no one thought she could. What can I accomplish?' That's what I hope goes through their heads when I see their eyes light up."
All Photos Credit: Kelsey Grant - Arizona Coyotes