The Detroit Red Wings have announced their inaugural Learn, Play, Score program, which will include hockey events for more than 30,000 youth in the city of Detroit. The program will be funded through an initial $1 million investment in partnership with the team, the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, and the NHL/NHLPA (National Hockey League Players’ Association) Industry Growth Fund.
“We are thrilled that the Ilitch Organization and Detroit Red Wings are engaging the city of Detroit to grow and make hockey more welcoming for everyone in the area,” says Kim Davis, executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives, and legislative affairs for the NHL. “It is critically important to give back to cities like Detroit to make sure we are collaborating with them to develop opportunities for those who need it most.”
The initiative includes partnerships with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Detroit Parks and Recreation, the Detroit Public Schools Community District, EverFi, and the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University. The team is working with metro Detroit and national organizations to coordinate the programming, curriculum, and operation of the program.
“This is all about empowering the youth in our city,” says Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc. and governor, president, and CEO of the Detroit Red Wings. “Hockey is more than just a sport. It is about teamwork, dedication, maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. We are committed to being a leader in finding innovative ways to connect younger generations to hockey in the community, and the Detroit Red Wings’ Learn, Play, Score program will provide that very opportunity. It all starts with the kids of this city – the next generation – and we’re looking forward to an exciting two years as the program takes shape and offers them the dynamic new experiences they deserve.”
The program will engage 79 elementary and middle schools in the district, 12 Detroit Parks and Recreation “Fun Centers,” and four Boys and Girls clubs across the city in the next year. Ice rinks within the newly formed Detroit Hockey Rink Collaborative, including East Side Hockey Ice Arena, Jack Adams Memorial Arena, and the outdoor rink at Clark Park will offer affordable Learn to Skate and Little Wings Learn to Play programs.
“Along with the NHL and the Red Wings, we’re extremely proud to be supporting the formation of the Detroit Red Wings’ Learn, Play, Score program,” says Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to the executive director for the NHLPA. “Exposing children to the game of hockey, both on and off the ice, is something that the players and the NHLPA have long valued, and this project is a perfect example of the positive impact that the Industry Growth Fund is having across the league.”
The initiative initially will consist of platforms within nontraditional and traditional hockey. Nontraditional hockey platforms will include Street Hockey in the D; After School League; Summer Fun Center Sessions; School Edition, which integrates the program with the physical education curriculum in the Detroit Public Schools Community District; Hockey in the Classroom; Future Goals – Hockey Scholar and STEM Day at Little Caesars Arena; and Esports and Hockey.
Traditional hockey platforms will include Detroit Hockey Rink Collaborative and On-Ice Hockey Pathway Scholarships with Clark Park, East Side Hockey Ice Arena, and Jack Adams Memorial Arena; and Open Skate Sessions at Little Caesars Arena.
To ensure each program element meets and exceeds goals, the Mike Ilitch School of Business, Oakland University, and the University of Michigan will provide independent data reporting and analysis support.