46 arenas and local associations in Michigan from Monroe to Marquette celebrated USA Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free Day on Nov. 2, 2013 and introduced over 1,000 new players to the game of hockey. The arenas and associations supplied the equipment and their staff helped the first-time players get suited up to hit the ice.
Jeffrey Cohen, 8, of Madison Heights, Mich., attended a Try Hockey for Free clinic at the Troy (Mich.) Sports Center with his 12-year old brother Nicholas.
“I have a friend who already plays hockey and I can’t wait to start playing too,” said Jeffrey Cohen.
Try Hockey For Free Day is part of Come Play Hockey Month. Come Play Hockey Month is a component of the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone™ (HIFE) program, which provides children of all backgrounds the opportunity to play hockey. USA Hockey's Try Hockey For Free Day, with the support of the National Hockey League and NHL member clubs, among others, is designed to provide youth hockey associations a national platform to introduce new kids to the sport.
“These clinics are great way to see how they like the sport,” said Jason Heywood, who brought his nine-year old son James and seven-year old daughter Julia to the Troy Sports Center. “James can’t wait to start playing and his sister is going to want to do it too.”
Participants in the Try Hockey for Free clinics can then move into entry-level Learn to Skate and Learn to Play programs.
“Everyone on the ice for the Try Hockey for Free clinics has a good understanding of all of our entry-level skating programs,” said Andrew Stewart, Hockey Director at the Rochester Hockey Club at the Onyx Ice Arena in Rochester, Mich. “So they are able to help answer questions and solve any equipment issues.”