It’s hard to believe the first preseason game is nearly two weeks away. All of us (you included) are preparing for the start of the 2009-10 regular season. It’s not just the players and coaches who have to mentally and physically prepare, but the season also requires some mental and physical endurance from our fans. Personally, I know that it takes me a while to get back into the routine of working game nights, just as I’m sure it’s a welcomed shock to you when we start having multiple games in one week. Nonetheless, it’s an exciting time as we all gear up for opening night on October 2.
However, there’s another team that beat the ‘Canes to the ice this preseason. The Capital City Crew took the ice at the RecZone for the first time yesterday (Tuesday, September 1). For those of you that do not know, the Capital City Crew is part of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone/NHL Diversity campaign that provides youth with the opportunity to play hockey at no cost to the participant. The Crew is a partnership among the Boys and Girls Club, Raleigh Youth Hockey Association and the Carolina Hurricanes. The team has had a few off ice (floor hockey) sessions at Boys and Girls Club facilities, but taking the ice made it that much more of a reality for the kids, coaches and staff.
The youths (ages 9-12) were transported to the RecZone from various Boys and Girls Club branches across the Triangle. Upon arrival, each youth was presented with a Capital City Crew branded windsuit to wear for the practice. It was a great surprise because the kids had been fitted for hockey equipment not knowing that they were going to be treated to other apparel. Additionally, each kid was also equipped with their own (new, might I add) gloves, helmet, skates and sticks. Thanks to a grant from the NHLPA and a donation from Eric Staal, all 40 participating kids will be fully outfitted with hockey equipment this season.
However, this one-hour practice was simply a “learn to skate” session (with sticks in hand, of course). For many of these kids, it was the first time they had ever laced up ice skates. For those of you that remember stepping onto the ice for the first time, it’s a bit of an awkward feeling. But, these kids surpassed everyone’s expectations. They were jumping blue lines in skating drills, pulling each other in a “dog sled” partner drill and skating/balancing on one skate across half the ice. There were a few spills here and there, but looking beyond the cages of their helmets, I saw smiles and heard laughter. One of the boys even claimed that “this was the most fun he’s ever had.” This was only week one of a six week on ice practice series, so I have no doubt that these kids will improve on the ice.
Other things to keep in mind…
The 12th Annual Kids ‘N Community Foundation Golf Tournament is only four weeks away. Click here for a registration/information packet. There are still some playing spots available and only one Power Play sponsorship opportunity.
The START! Triangle Heart Walk is scheduled for Sunday, September 27 from 2-5 p.m. at the RBC Center. There is no registration fee or minimum donation requirement to participate. ‘Canes players will be on hand to walk/run in an effort to help raise awareness and funds to fight heart disease and stroke. Visit www.starttriangle.org, search for the Carolina Hurricanes team and join our (Community Relations) team.