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NHL, USA Hockey "Let's Move!" overview @NHLdotcom

"Great moments are born from great opportunities." The meaning of these words hasn't changed since Herb Brooks used them to motivate the 1980 Miracle on Ice team.  Today, we have a great opportunity to unlock the full potential that lives in every boy or girl who laces up a pair of skates or gym shoes.

Faced with steep declines in state funding and local tax revenues, many school districts and community organizations are discarding sports programs or considering painful cuts, despite the broad popularity of those activities among parents and students.  And as many communities struggle to deal with issues related to education, childhood obesity, and youth violence, there has never been a more important time for the existence of positive and meaningful outlets for children and young teens to learn, compete, grow…and have fun.

That is why the NHL and USA Hockey are proud to team up with First Lady Michelle Obama, the Let's Move! initiative and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to address these issues and help the nation's youth lead healthier, more active lives through the sport of hockey.  Together, we will break down barriers and introduce the game of hockey to new children and improve the way kids play, love and excel at hockey—all while promoting 60 minutes of physical activity every day.  Hockey is a unique blend of fun and exercise that can't be beat!

The NHL and USA Hockey are proud to announce, as part of their collaboration with the First Lady, Let's Move! and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition that the entire month of November  2011 will be designated as "Come Play Youth Hockey" month.  Together we will launch a nationwide campaign to encourage all kids to try ice hockey or street hockey, and complete the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). There is no better way to inspire a life-long passion for playing hockey than simply to put a child on skates with a stick, or get that boy or girl to a gym, school yard or neighborhood parking lot for a fun street hockey game with friends. A free trial provides the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that hockey is affordable, unique and convenient. The greatest selling point to parents will come with smiling, perspiring kids!

This groundbreaking effort will involve NHL member clubs, hockey industry leaders, players, alumni and USA Hockey certified coaches and instructors. It will leverage new and existing grassroots initiatives, such as the award-winning NHL Street™ and Hockey is for Everyone™ programs. It will incorporate USA Hockey's nationally recognized "Try Hockey for Free" model by mobilizing ice rinks, youth hockey associations, community centers and local schools in all 50 states across the nation to participate and host Try Hockey for Free events. 

And for youngsters and families already invested in the game? Through USA Hockey's American Development Model, we will ensure kids are playing and having fun, learning, developing skills and excelling. Above all, the game needs to be fun. We will give kids a reason to stick with the game and unlock their potential so they can excel at the game they play and love.

How can the game of hockey be so important in the development of our children? It's a beacon of hope for children seeking direction. A fitness program to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity. A meeting ground for lifelong friends. But at its heart hockey is, and should be, fun. A chance for kids to pour out their passion and creativity on the ice. For them to learn and grow with every practice or clinic. To just be a kid and enjoy the game.

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