Former Chicago Blackhawks players team up with Inner City Education for charity hockey event
On Sunday night, a charity game involving former members of the Blackhawks took place on the ice at Fifth Third Arena and ABC7’s Ravi Baichwal got a chance to skate with the people supporting Inner City Education, also known as program name “ICE”.
The pucks were flying like only NHL players can, and then there were the others trying to keep up – all for a good cause.
“We raise funds to provide hockey and educational opportunities to low-income children for whom these opportunities may not be available,” said Brad Erickson, Inner City Education Program Director.
Erickson now has 150 kids in its program who are introduced to hockey at the earliest possible age and using its structure to teach teamwork, discipline and goal setting.
Darius Mack and Jeff Adams graduated from the program. They started skating when they were 9 years old in Garfield Park, but said they probably wouldn’t have approached their neighborhood rink if ICE hadn’t brought it to them.
“Where we’re from, you know, not too far from here Garfield Park, there weren’t a lot of opportunities to do things that opened doors for us,” Darius Mack said. “Introduced us to a new game and had the opportunity of something we’ve experienced before and are grateful for that.”
This is the first fundraiser for ICE in three years due to the pandemic.
“I feel good, I haven’t been on the ice in probably five years, so it’s exciting to be able to come back here,” said Jeff Adams.
“It’s an expensive sport. It’s not available in low-income communities, so we provide equipment, coaching, ice time, mentorship and academic tutoring,” Erickson added.
The goal is to expand the program with the help of the Chicago Blackhawks and the wider hockey community, represented by the “Beer League Legends” in this game.
“Well keep showing up, we show up and show our face, and it’s kids wanting to be and see what it’s all about, and then they see they’re interested and we just want to keep it going. “Adams said when asked how he maintains momentum in non-traditional hockey communities.
The contest shirts of the night, which the white team won 10-8, go up for auction on ECI website.
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