DETROIT -- With outstanding young players like 19-year-old Lucas Raymond, 20-year-old Moritz Seider and several others, the Detroit Red Wings' youth movement is making a huge impact on the ice.
And while Detroit's young core is getting the job done in the NHL, the Red Wings are also focused on growing the game and making an impact for even younger members of the community with the Red Wings' pioneering Learn, Play, Score program.
As part of that focus and commitment, hundreds of youth participants from the Learn, Play, Score program got a chance last Wednesday to experience a little taste of life in the NHL when they were invited to the Community Open Skate event at Little Caesars Arena, presented by Bally Sports Detroit.
Participants from the Learn, Play, Score Summer Series street hockey program packed the Little Caesars Arena ice and were joined by Learn, Play, Score ambassador Jason McCrimmon and Red Wings legend Larry Murphy. The kids also received a co-branded Bally Sports Detroit beanie and a pizza party.
"For many of our guests, this was their first time ice skating at Little Caesars Arena," Red Wings and Tigers director of community impact Kevin Brown said. "To know they're skating on the same ice as Red Wings players is truly special. The kids had everything they needed to enjoy a fantastic time on the ice, including rental skates, ice skating trainers and more."
The Learn, Play, Score program was created in February 2020 as part of a commitment to building confidence and character, promoting positive values and imparting enduring life skills by breaking down systemic barriers and giving thousands of youth across the city of Detroit equitable access to the game of hockey.
The collaboration between the Red Wings, Detroit Red Wings Foundation and the NHL/NHLPA Industry Growth Fund began with an initial $1 million investment and features five different hockey platforms.
Non-traditional platforms include Street Hockey in the D, Hockey in the Classroom and eSports, while traditional platforms include the Detroit Hockey Rink Collaborative with On-Ice Hockey Pathway Scholarships and finally, Open Skate Sessions at Little Caesars Arena.
"When we launched Learn, Play, Score last year, one of the main elements was ensuring young Detroiters and their families received unparalleled access to Little Caesars Arena," Brown said. "In partnership with Bally Sports Detroit, the Community Open Skate at Little Caesars Arena builds on our commitment to place opportunities and experiences at the forefront of our work in the city. And we can't wait to host additional open skate experiences for young Detroiters and their families this season."
Wednesday's event was the first of four Community Open Skate sessions at Little Caesars Arena during the 2021-22 season. The next event is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 27, inviting children from three Detroit hockey rinks; Clark Park, Jack Adams Arena and East Side Hockey Ice Arena.
For more information on the Learn, Play, Score Program and how to get involved, visit DetroitRedWings.com/LearnPlayScore.