TSF Partners with The Herb Brooks Foundation's "Rink Rats" Program for Inner-City Youth

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January 16th - St. Paul, Minnesota

The impact that Herb Brooks had on the hockey community in Minnesota is hard to quantify. A few years after he completed his playing days at the University of Minnesota, he began his coaching career, which eventually brought him full circle when he was hired as the head coach at his alma mater. Brooks won three national championships at the University of Minnesota in the 1970’s before being selected as the head coach for the 1980 U.S.A. Olympic Hockey team, and of course, the rest is history.

Brooks had a tremendous influence on the sport of hockey and its growth both in Minnesota and nationwide. One thing he continually emphasized was that hockey should always be “fun” first and that anyone who wants to play should have the opportunity to participate. Four years after his death in 2003, his son Dan and his daughter Kelly created the Herb Brooks Foundation in his honor. The mission of HBF is to grow hockey; give kids a positive experience in the game; and to learn life lessons.

One of the most important facets of the Herb Brooks Foundation is their “Rink Rats” program, which provides kids living in the inner-city the chance to try their hand at hockey. The program is designed to give kids a chance to learn the basic skills of skating and hockey. During these clinics, the kids are under the direction of professional Herb Brooks Foundation coaches and St. Paul Police Athletic League Officers. Hockey equipment can be expensive, of course, but HBF makes sure that is no problem for kids who want to play but don’t have the equipment. They provide skates, helmets, and hockey sticks for each Rink Rats program participant that needs them!

The Sanneh Foundation proudly recognizes the outstanding impact that the Herb Brooks Foundation is having on kids and their families in the community. As a sponsor of the Rink Rats program, TSF had their Marketing and Communications VISTA E.J. Stevens attend one of the clinics last week as a volunteer assistant coach.

Phalen Ice Arena in St. Paul was the location of the clinic, and soon after registration began at 5:30 p.m. the 50 spots available for kids to sign-up were completely full. 20 minutes later, the HBF coaches led the kids out onto the ice to begin the one-hour clinic. There were several kids that were clearly experienced skaters, while others were just learning how to navigate on the ice for their first time. The coaches were extremely encouraging and patient with the kids, no matter if they were cruising up the ice or if they needed to stop every couple seconds to use the boards.

After 50 minutes of teaching the kids skating techniques and puck handling, the coaches lined them up and it was time for a relay race. The young skaters were divided into groups of five and took turns skating to the blue line and back, using the coaches as human cones to skate around. At the conclusion of the relay races, the kids collected all of the gear on the ice and it was time to go home. It was so fun to see another organization making a huge difference in the lives of others in the Twin Cities. Thanks for all you do, Herb Brooks Foundation!