As part of Hockey Is For Everyone and the NHL Centennial Celebration, the League is donating $5,000 to every NHL team to contribute to their respective communities. The grants will be used to promote inclusiveness and diversity in hockey.
Prior to the Stadium Series game at Heinz Field on Feb. 25, the Pittsburgh Penguins presented the Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey team with a $5,000 Diversity and Inclusion grant to enhance their program and further support their mission of developing character, sportsmanship and physical fitness, while promoting and encouraging both educational and cultural experiences.
The Nashville Predators hosted the Special Olympics of Tennessee at the Centennial Fan Arena February 11-12. They awarded the organization a $5,000 Diversity and Inclusion Grant to support their mission of "Providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities". The grant will be used to create a Young Athletes program that will provide equipment, supplies and support to create a year-round offering to promote motor, social, and cognitive development in children (ages 2-7) with intellectual disabilities through physical activity and play.
The St. Louis Blues presented the Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club with a $5,000 Diversity and Inclusion Grant to further expose disadvantaged children to the sport of hockey through street hockey programming and Blues game experiences on Feb. 3.
The LA Kings Sled Hockey team received a $5,000 Diversity and Inclusion grant as a part of the Centennial Fair Arena Corporate Social Responsibility Activation. The grant was presented during a practice at the outdoor rink at LA Live on Jan. 27. After the practice, the team received a private tour of the Centennial Fan Arena.
During the Fan Arena's tour stop in Dallas on Jan. 14, the Dallas Sled Stars (operated under the Southwest Wheel Chair Athletic Association) were presented with a $5,000 Diversity and Inclusion Grant. Two days prior, three members from the Sled Stars were on site at the Centennial Fan Arena to collect equipment donations and tour the arena. The funds will be used to cover travel costs associated with the USA Hockey Disabled Festival, which will be held in San Jose in April.
On Jan. 19 in San Jose, Special Olympics Northern California received a $10,000 grant at the Fan Arena prior to the San Jose Sharks' game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at SAP Center. The Sharks matched the League's $5,000 Diversity and Inclusion grant to help support organization's floor hockey program by purchasing much-needed equipment and covering facility rental fees for weekly training and regional competitions.
On Jan. 21, Anaheim Ducks Top Flight Street Hockey was presented with a $5,000 Diversity and Inclusion grant after participating in a ball hockey session at the Fan Arena. The grant will be used to purchase sets of equipment for the 20 Top Flight participants.
The Arizona Coyotes were the first to participate in the initiative when they combined with the Arizona Coyotes Foundation to donate $10,000 to One Step Bobcats, a special needs hockey team, when the NHL Centennial Fan Arena began its tour of North America at Tempe Marketplace on Jan 7. Thousands of fans toured the 53-foot museum truck, played ball hockey on a pop-up rink and took turns driving the virtual Zamboni or posing with the Stanley Cup.
Hockey Is For Everyone is an initiative that shows support for any teammate, coach or fan who brings heart, energy and passion to the rink. Regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status -- you belong and are welcome on the ice, in the locker room and in the stands.