|Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter (left) with Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider after announcing private-public partnership where Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation will now operate five of the City of Philadelphia's five public skating rinks, three of which were slated to be closed due to budget cuts. (Flyers Photos)
(Philadelphia, PA) - Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider announced that the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (ESYHF) will take over operation and programming of three ice-skating rinks targeted by the City for possible closure. Under the agreement, ESYHF will oversee all ice hockey programs at the Scanlon Ice Rink, the Laura Sims Skatehouse at Cobbs Creek, and the Rink at Simons Recreation and Teen Access Center.
The Foundation will provide free ice hockey instruction and leagues, including all equipment, as well supplemental academic services at no charge to participants. The Philadelphia Department of Recreation will continue to maintain the rinks.
“This agreement is an example of a great public-private partnership,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am pleased that the Snider Foundation is able to work with the City to keep these rinks open and accessible to the community. In this budget climate, we need to be more creative about how we provide services.”
The new partnership also expands general access to the rinks three afternoons per week at the Rizzo Rink and the Tarken Rink and access to ice on weekday mornings at all five City rinks. This will enable the Foundation to expand its School Day sessions, which provide physical education programming for many of the Philadelphia public schools that are within close proximity to these sites. Entrance and equipment will be provided free of charge during these periods.
“If the end product of this partnership is that boys and girls go on to play for competitive club, scholastic or even collegiate hockey teams, that would be great,” said Ed Snider. “But more significant are the thousands of young people who will learn the importance of staying in school, staying on a progressive path, and the need to give back to their communities. These children will someday help to build a stronger Philadelphia.”
“This is very exciting. The residents of the surrounding communities will gain a first-class program run by the most respected youth hockey organization in the region,” added Recreation Commissioner Susan Slawson. “What has impressed me most about ESYHF is its supplemental educational services, including its nationally acclaimed life skills curriculum.”
The Foundation is also working with the City to procure land for a hub facility, encompassing a state-of-the-art computer lab, classrooms, administrative offices, and multiple ice surfaces. The facility will also include public space designated for meetings and other related community functions.
“We are thrilled by this alliance,” said Scott Tharp, President of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. “This is a win-win situation. ESYHF will gain access to much needed ice time, and ESYHF, in turn, will relieve the Department of Recreation of the overhead needed to staff its hockey programs. Being recognized as the official youth hockey provider for the City of Philadelphia marks the achievement of one of the Foundation’s initial goals.”
Philadelphia Flyers founder Ed Snider created the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation in 2005 as a personal commitment to provide opportunities to those who would otherwise not have such options. The Foundation has experienced rapid growth and uses hockey as its hook to gain and hold the attention of its young people, bringing inner-city children together resulting in positive youth development.
The mission of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation is to use the sport of hockey to help educate young people on how to succeed in the game of life.