Helping inner city kids get interested in hockeyAccording to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), the number of individuals over the age of 7 who played hockey in the U.S. was down 9.2 percent to 3 million people in 2011. But the National Hockey League (NHL) is working to increase participation and to get inner city kids interested in the sport.
NHL's Hockey is for Everyone (HIFE) is a youth development program that provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America.
In Newark, New Jersey, for instance, HIFE supports the Hockey in Newark program, which works to promote the sport among youth in the community. There are similar programs in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and other NHL cities as well.
In addition to teaching these inner city kids how to play hockey, the programs also provide them with used hockey equipment such as skates, pads, helmets and sticks.
"There's not a huge hockey following in urban areas in general," Hockey in Newark co-director Dennis Ruppe recently told the South Orange Patch. "But once we get the kids out there, they try it and they fall in love. Then it becomes word-of-mouth."