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Hockey is for Everyone: Hendrickson Foundation

Foundation supports various branches of Minnesota Disabled Hockey to help change lives through the sport

by Minnesota Wild @mnwild / Wild.com

Hockey is for Everyone uses the game of hockey to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities. During the month of February, the Wild will celebrate organizations and teams around Minnesota that work to create a greater State of Hockey and exemplify the meaning of Hockey is for Everyone -- providing a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.

In 2011, USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey approached longtime high school coach and off-ice development instructor Larry Hendrickson about growing the game of hockey for disabled athletes. A bit of brainstorming and a few months later, the Hendrickson Foundation was born. 

Once Hendrickson -- the father of Wild assistant coach Darby Hendrickson -- saw firsthand the impact his young foundation was making on the Minnesota hockey community, he knew he had to continue increasing it. With the goal of changing the lives of its athletes, the Hendrickson Foundation seeks to improve both physical and mental health as it grows the game. 

With myriad goals that represent the wide variety of athletes the foundation supports, players develop values for life through sports, including improving social integration, developing friendships and confidence, improving physical health and, most of all, having fun.

The foundation supports Minnesota Special Hockey teams, the Minnesota Wild and Junior Wild sled hockey teams, and the Minnesota Warriors. 

The Hendrickson Foundation hosts an annual hockey festival, now in its second year and drawing a large enough crowd to take over the National Sports Center in Blaine. Scheduled for Feb. 23-25 this year, the festival is one of several community events the foundation organizes to raise awareness and allow its sponsored teams to compete.

Its ultimate objective? To prove that hockey changes lives, and that everyone deserves an opportunity to allow it to. 

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