3rd Annual Grow the Game Award Recipient Announced
Newark Ice Hockey Association (NIHA) of Newark, Ohio and Lou & Gib Reese Ice Arena have teamed up to offer a program to local schools called Scores for Schools. The efforts of these organizations to grow the game have earned them USA Hockey and Total Hockey’s annual Grow the Game Award. Scores for Schools was developed by NIHA to work with school aged children to introduce them to skating through a fully paid field trip to the Lou & Gib Reese Ice Arena. This field trip includes a lesson which teaches kids the science behind making, maintaining, and resurfacing ice then introduces them to the differences between hockey and figure skating, how to shoot a puck, shows them a Zamboni and lastly gives them a voucher to return to the ice rink for a public session.
Through their partnerships with USA Hockey, Mid- Am and the Columbus Blue Jackets and volunteer efforts NIHA has been able to make the field trip completely free for the schools involved and has turned it into an annual field trip for many schools. As many school districts are finding it difficult to fund trips for students this makes it possible for the program to continue even in areas with financial constraints.
The success of the program has been astronomical. In the first three years of the program Scores for Schools has introduced more than 3000 youth to skating and hockey. In addition, they have seen a 30% increase in Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey classes at the Lou & Gib Reese Ice Arena and have increased the number of players in NIHA by 10% per year for the age group of those students participating in Scores for Schools.
For their success in growing the game, Total Hockey and USA Hockey have picked them as the annual Grow the Game winner and have awarded them a $2,500 prize to promote the continuation of their program.