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The Willie O Cup to be awarded at Hockey in the Hood tournament

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Willie O'Ree, the first black player in the National Hockey League (NHL), is to be commemorated with a championship trophy that bears his name, "The Willie O Cup" at the annual "Hockey in the Hood" (HITH) tournament. Hosted by the Detroit Hockey Association, the fourth annual HITH will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Willie O'Ree joining the NHL.

Over 400 inner city youths representing 22 hockey teams from Detroit and nine other U.S. cities will compete in this year's HITH tournament, running February 15 - 17th. In addition to the Detroit Dragons teams, the others represent: Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Mount Vernon, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Washington, DC; Wasilla, AK and Southwest Detroit's Clark Park Coalition.

Games in the fourth annual HITH will be played at the Detroit Hockey Association's Dragons home ice - Jack Adams Arena and at the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Ice Arena. Thanks to the generous support of the Detroit Red Wings, championship games will be played at Joe Louis Arena.

"Hockey in the Hood is the highlight of our season," says Detroit Hockey Association President Will McCants. "It is great to see inner city youth hockey players come from all across the country to compete here in Detroit. With this year marking the 50th anniversary of Willie O'Ree's breaking the color barrier in the NHL, it makes us especially proud to host a tournament celebrating what he symbolizes and continues to work for as Director of Youth Development for NHL Diversity."

The Detroit Hockey Association is more than just hockey. It's about youth development through hockey. For example, following the 2006-2007 season 98 % of its seniors graduated from high school and 95% went on to college. Throughout its history Detroit Hockey Association's players have far exceeded the graduation rates and college education ranks of their classmates.

For more than 30 years, the Detroit Hockey Association has helped develop youths both as skilled hockey players and men and women of character, guided by its motto "Where goals are achieved, not just scored." Its affordable programs have enabled many youths from low and moderate income households to experience the rush of the rink as they build values lasting a lifetime. The Detroit Hockey Association is member of the Little Caesar's Amateur Hockey League, the largest youth amateur hockey league in the nation. For more information, go to:


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