Hockey is a game for everyone. All ages, genders, skill levels and, backgrounds can play the game. Often, however, the game is out of reach for under severed communities. It is no secret the National Hockey League is doing its part to expand the game but, so are the New York Islanders. Among the number of events and programs the Islanders host, players run several personal initiatives.
Islanders continue to build pathways for everyone to play the game of hockey.
Unless you live in a state with frigid winters, finding the ice time needed to hone your craft can be challenging. Compound this with the cost of playing the game, and the picture becomes more apparent why it is so difficult to get started in hockey. Unlike other sports where you simply need a ball and some friends to play – hockey is a bit more involved. The New York Islanders have programs designed to help bridge the gap for those who do not know how to begin playing hockey.
There are over ten programs the Islanders organization hosts to the greater Long Island and New York City area. During Tuesday night’s preseason game against the Flyers, the broadcast highlighted one of these programs.
The 43 Oak Foundation provides an entry point for under-served communities to enter into the game of hockey in a way that welcomes all players. Aiming to highlight New York City’s diverse hockey community, 43 Oak Foundation is helping bridge the gap for minority players.
Another program bridging the gap in the game is the Isles Girls Elite Hockey Program. This Islanders program focused on giving space for women and girls to play the game while building valuable tools they can take off the ice. With the growth of the Premier Hockey Federation (formerly known as the National Women’s Hockey League), programs like the Isles Girls Elite Hockey Program provide avenues for hockey to continue to grow.
These programs mentioned above are only a glimpse into what the Islanders do to grow the game of hockey in meaningful ways. There is the Future Islanders program, Islanders High School Hockey, Long Island Blues Special Hockey Club and, many more.
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There is still plenty of work that needs to happen to make pathways for underserved communities to play hockey but, the groundwork is there. The programs that promote positivity within hockey and grow the community are essential as these programs help tie a team to its community. Highlighting these programs is vital. Reaching out and finding out how a fanbase can support is necessary because together, a fanbase can welcome home a local player who they helped make their hockey dreams a reality.