Never Too Late Hockey Camp

Never Too Late Hockey Camp

by Jenn Schultz

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Alonzo, one of our ACES students from the East Side Boys & Girls Club, is just completing his first month of Never Too Late hockey camp! Minnesota Hockey partnered with the Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Wild Foundation to develop Never Too Late, a low-cost Learn to Play Camp designed for youth aged 9-12 who have never played organized hockey.

Alonzo first got interested in hockey when ACES visited TRIA Rink, the practice facility of the Minnesota Wild, to participate in a skills clinic put on by the Herb Brooks Foundation. At the time, he had ice skated before but he had never played hockey in any capacity. 

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In February, Alonzo was part of an ACES group invited back to TRIA rink to watch a special screening of Soul on Ice, a documentary by Damon Kwame Mason about breaking the color barrier in hockey. The group got to watch the Minnesota Wild practice before the screening in the Wild’s theater room. Following the film, Minnesota Wild players Matt Dumba and Jordan Greenway spoke to our students about the challenges of being hockey players of color in a white-dominated sport.

This was when Alonzo expressed to his ACES teachers a real desire to learn more about the sport and become a hockey player himself. The Minnesota Wild heard about his passion and arranged for Alonzo to be the First Fan at a March home game. Alonzo felt like a celebrity as he was introduced to the entire crowd on the JumboTron and rode the Zamboni between the first and second periods!

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For many of our students, hockey is not an accessible sport because of the costs associated with gear and ice time. Not only did the Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Wild Foundation help enroll Alonzo in the Never Too Late camp, but they were able to assist his family in securing hockey gear for him. We are so appreciative of their time and effort in helping Alonzo realize his dream of playing hockey!

Claire BartholomewComment