Pro Team Looking to Boost Youth HockeyPosted: Updated:
The state's new professional hockey team has announced a fundraising goal of $500,000 for youth programs in central Indiana during the next five years. The Indy Fuel has named Judi Kremer youth hockey ambassador to help with the effort. March 26, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Today, the Indy Fuel announced an ambitious initiative engaging the Indianapolis area's youth hockey organizations, naming a full-time youth hockey ambassador and setting a major financial goal to support the growth of the sport in Central Indiana.
The youth hockey associations will be able to actively manage a large portion of the in-game fundraising during the Fuel season, aiming to raise $500,000 over the next five years to grow the sport. Those invited to participate include local USA Hockey affiliates, the Coliseum Youth Hockey League, Fishers Youth Hockey Association, Indianapolis Youth Hockey Association, South Indy Youth Hockey and area high school club teams. To administer these efforts, the team also named long-time hockey organizer (and 'hockey mom') Judi Kremer its youth hockey ambassador.
As a new expansion franchise in the most competitive 'AA' league for the NHL, the Fuel is focused first and foremost on building a winning team for its 2014-15 inaugural season. But the team’s ownership has also embraced a broader mission to grow hockey at the grassroots level.
"In bringing professional hockey back to Indianapolis, we started with the confidence that we could build and sustain a successful team," said Sean Hallett, the Fuel's President & CEO. "But we also wanted to leave a civic legacy, to help kids stay active, have fun, and develop a lifelong love of this great sport.
"Youth hockey has already grown tremendously across Central Indiana - it's one reason we knew we could build a strong fan base for the Fuel. We want to help these grassroots organizations bring ice hockey to even more young Hoosiers... we're investing financial and organizational resources, and we're very fortunate to have a dedicated volunteer like Judi Kremer willing to invest her own time and energy."
The Fuel's fundraising efforts will support collaboration among the youth hockey associations and coordinated initiatives to expand participation and promote the fitness and personal development benefits of ice hockey. The emphasis will be on entry-level "learning to play" activities, as well as providing more opportunities for groups that may not otherwise be able to access or afford hockey programs.
"Our goal is doubling participation in recreational and developmental youth hockey in Central Indiana over the next decade," said Kevin Grau, President of the Coliseum Youth Hockey League. "It's ambitious, but with the generosity and commitment of the Fuel, it's very reachable."
The sustained support of the Fuel will provide an opportunity for the local USA Hockey Affiliates to expand investment in community-based developmental hockey programs for girls and boys from ages 4-17.
"Hockey is a fast-paced, exciting sport that gives young people the chance to try something new as they stay active during the winter and learn the value of competition and sportsmanship," said Scott Paluch, Regional Manager for USA Hockey. "Once we introduce them to hockey, they love it - with the help of the Indy Fuel, we can give many more families the opportunity to get their kids out on the ice."
As the Fuel's youth hockey ambassador, Judi Kremer has first-hand experience with the value of hockey in building fitness, teamwork, and work ethic. Judi has more than twenty years of experience working with and helping lead youth hockey associations in Reading, Pennsylvania and in Greater Indianapolis as she watched both of her sons progress through various levels of the sport. A native of upstate New York, she grew up with a love of hockey that she passed along to her children, and has worked to bring to Hoosiers in her adopted hometown.
"Hockey has been an important part of my life for well over twenty years, and I know first-hand the positive impact the sport has on children and families - including mine," Kremer said. "As a fan, I was thrilled to see professional hockey come back to the Indiana Fairgrounds. But as a volunteer and a parent, I'm even more pleased that the Fuel organization truly cares about growing the sport in the next generation."
Kremer will focus on facilitating ongoing collaboration among the region's youth hockey associations, acting as liaison between the Fuel and the associations, and ensuring that the most impactful programs are supported through the team's fundraising efforts.
"Having worked with these groups for many years, I'm proud of the success we've had in building a hockey community in Central Indiana," Kremer added. "But I also know there's much more that can be done, working together - this effort will help us all go further, faster in expanding the sport."
"As a franchise, we're anxious to establish a winning tradition for our fans," Hallett finished. "We won't get a chance to compete on the ice for several more months, but I count this as a big victory nonetheless. We look forward to helping youth hockey grow alongside our team."
Indy Fuel fans will be able to contribute to youth hockey efforts by attending games and participating in raffles and other fundraising promotions; a night of affordable family fun can also have a higher purpose in giving young people more recreational and character-building opportunities.
About the Indy Fuel:
The Indy Fuel is bringing professional hockey back to Indianapolis, and will begin skating against rivals in the ECHL - the premier 'AA' league for the NHL - in October 2014. The Fuel's 'home ice' is the newly-renovated Coliseum on the Indiana State Fairgrounds, which hosted the city's first hockey team more than 75 years ago as well as its newest professional franchise. The Indy Fuel will host 36 home games during the 2014-15 season, providing exciting competition and affordable entertainment for the whole family. Fans can learn more at IndyFuelHockey.com, and connect with the team on Twitter @IndyFuel and at Facebook.com/IndyFuel.
Source: The Indy Fuel