The line formed before 6 a.m., as families began arriving at Xcel Energy Center for the distribution of gear at the fourth annual Used Hockey Equipment Drive. More than 3,000 pieces of equipment were donated throughout September and early October, while 500 people received equipment on Saturday, Oct. 6.
“The drive went very well,” said Doug Johnson, publisher of Let’s Play Hockey. “It seemed like there was more donated gear this year than the previous three years.
“You have to take your hat off to all the people that donated the used equipment.”
Families came from throughout the State of Hockey – from as far away as Worthington, Esko and Wadena – to get the equipment.
“Some people drove two to three hours for the opportunity to pick up this gear,” Johnson said. “The turnout at Xcel Energy Center was great and the people who came out were so thankful to get this free equipment. There were a lot of first-timers who will get their first opportunity to try hockey thanks to the drive.”
Dozens of young hockey players and volunteers helped sort the equipment at a Berger Transfer warehouse ahead of the distribution date. The Minnesota Wild, Let’s Play Hockey and Minnesota Hockey teamed up with Berger Transfer to help outfit players and help grow the sport in the State of Hockey.
“There are a tremendous amount of volunteers that make this drive possible every year,” Johnson said. “The people working at arenas collecting the gear in boxes; Berger Transfer who collect and store the gear; the volunteers on sort night who get the equipment into the right boxes; and the volunteers who were there on Saturday to help first-time families fit their children with properly fitting gear.”
Sponsors and partners for the program, in alphabetical order, include Berger Transfer, Boehm’s, FOX Sports North, Herb Brooks Foundation, Let’s Play Hockey, Minnesota Girls Hockey Coaches Association, Minnesota High School Hockey Coaches Association, Minnesota Hockey, Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association, Minnesota Wild, Total Hockey, Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League and Westwood Sports.