Friday marks the start of the eighth annual Hockey Weekend Across America. With a number of events planned, and a country that continues to grow the sport, USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean appeared on NHL Live Wednesday to give his version of the State of the Union.
"This whole promotion of Hockey Weekend Across America is something we started eight years ago, simply to give us the opportunity to shine a light on the sport and certain aspects of the sport," Ogrean said.
The festivities begin Friday with Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey Day. Saturday is Try Hockey for Free Day, presented by Kraft, and Sunday, the 35th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, is Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes Day.
"It really is an opportunity not only to get new people to the games and to the rinks, but also to celebrate a lot of people at the grassroots level, and just really put a spotlight on the sport, which we never can get enough of, and hopefully help us continue to grow the game," said Ogrean, who said participation in USA Hockey is up 2.3 percent from last year.
Ogrean said USA Hockey is as strong as ever.
"The job is never done, you never get to the finish line or say, 'OK, we've done what we need to do and our work is finished," Ogrean said. "It's never finished. But I think by a lot of metrics it's in better shape than it's ever been."