The third annual Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by Reebok, begins tomorrow (January 29) and runs through Sunday.
Hockey Weekend Across America was started by USA Hockey in 2008 to provide a framework for the hockey community to celebrate the game at all levels, while also exposing the sport to new audiences.
"There are tremendous things happening in our sport in all parts of the nation," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, "and it's only appropriate that we utilize Hockey Weekend Across America to celebrate those accomplishments."
Each of the three days of Hockey Weekend Across America has a theme, including:
Friday (Jan. 29) – Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey, sponsored by ShopUSAHockey.com
Saturday (Jan. 30) – Bring a Friend to the Rink, sponsored by the NHL
Sunday (Jan. 31) – Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes, sponsored by the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program
For the past two months, USA Hockey and Reebok have conducted a "Why Hockey Rocks" video contest as part of Hockey Weekend Across America. Fans were asked to submit one-minute videos explaining why hockey is the best sport in the world. Following a voting process that began on Jan. 1, a total of 16 winners received a voucher for $300 worth of Reebok Hockey gear and had their videos entered into a tournament-style competition for the chance to win up to $2,500 in Reebok Hockey merchandise. The final round of voting is currently taking place at HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com, and the winner will be announced Sunday (Jan. 31).
USA Hockey is also conducting a best Hockey Weekend Across America programming contest for its local associations across the country, with the grand-prize winner receiving a voucher for $5,000 of Reebok Hockey gear. Additionally, five runners-up will receive $1,000 of Reebok Hockey goods. The entry form can be obtained at HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com.
Below is a partial list of events happening around the country in conjunction with Hockey Weekend Across America.
NOTES: USA Hockey will stage media conference calls as part of Hockey Weekend Across America with members of the gold medal-winning 1960 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team on Wednesday (Jan. 27); members of the gold medal-winning 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team on Thursday (Jan. 28); and members of the gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team on Friday (Jan. 29) … Hockey Day in Michigan is slated for Jan. 30 as part of Hockey Weekend Across America ... A total of 135 rinks in 33 states will participate in USA Hockey's Try Hockey for Free initiative on Saturday (Jan. 30) as part of Hockey Weekend Across America. The 135 rinks will provide those new to hockey an opportunity to try it without cost ... From Jan. 29-31, disabled hockey players from all four disciplines (sled, deaf/hard of hearing, standing amputee and special hockey) will visit all 54 rinks in the state of New Jersey in conjunction with Hockey Weekend Across America. Their goal will be to raise awareness for disabled hockey among disabled athletes and encourage rinks to support new or existing disabled hockey programs. The event will officially kick off Friday (Jan. 29) at a special event at the NHL Powered by Reebok Store in New York City. Mike Richter, 2008 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, and Bill Daly, deputy commissioner of the National Hockey League, will be on hand to help launch the "Everybody Skates New Jersey" program beginning at 10 a.m. EST. ... Saturday (Jan. 30), the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team will take part in four Try Hockey for Free clinics as part of Hockey Weekend Across America. Two U.S. players will be at each of the following locations: World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. (12-1 p.m.), Pueblo Plaza Ice Arena in Pueblo, Colo. (9-10 a.m.), Family Sports Center Ice Arena in Centennial, Colo. (9-10 a.m.) and Edge Ice Arena in Littleton, Colo. (9:30-10:30 a.m.) ... Beginning with its home game against the New York Rangers on Saturday (Jan. 30) at 6 p.m. MT, the Phoenix Coyotes are sponsoring "24 Hours of Hockey" as part of Hockey Weekend Across America. The event continues throughout the night and into Sunday with a total of 15 consecutive youth and adult hockey games. All age groups will be represented at the event, which will end with a game featuring Coyotes and NHL alumni at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
A special screening of the movie Miracle, co-sponsored by the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, will be be aired at the Little Theater on Saturday (Jan. 30).
The Coastal Carolina Hockey Association will honor a dedicated local man who attends endless house and travel games during its "Try Hockey for Free" event at the Wilmington Ice House on Saturday (Jan. 30).
The Methuen Youth Hockey Association will host an hour-long Learn to Skate program and hour-long cross-ice event on Saturday (Jan. 30).
After a day of touring our nation's capital, alumnae from American University and the University of Minnesota Duluth will face off in a reunion game at Fort Dupont on Saturday (Jan. 30). Then, on Sunday (Jan. 31), the American University women's ice hockey team will take on the University of Maryland's women's ice hockey team in the Verizon Center.
St. Joseph, Mich.
The Berrien Area Hockey Association is hosting its annual "Lake Effect Outdoor Hockey Classic" tournament at the Howard Ice Arena from Friday through Sunday (Jan. 29-31).
Coral Springs, Fla.
The Florida Jr. Panthers will honor Robb Tallas - a former NHL goaltender, Florida Jr. Panthers coach and current goalie consultant for the NHL's Florida Panthers - on Sunday (Jan. 31).
The Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League and Maryland Scholastic Hockey League will host an all-star game on Saturday (Jan. 30).
Hoffman Estates, Ill.
The Fremd High School boys' ice hockey team will take on the Hornets Youth Sled Hockey Team in a charity game to raise awareness and funds for sled hockey on Friday (Jan. 29).
The Amherst Youth Hockey Association is encouraging its players to wear their jerseys to school on Friday (Jan. 29). Then, on Saturday (Jan. 30), players can bring a friend to the rink to try hockey for free at the Amherst Pepsi Center from 10:50 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. EST.
Las Vegas, Nev.
The Nevada Amateur Hockey Association is hosting a "Try Hockey for Free" clinic on Saturday (Jan. 30) at the Las Vegas Ice Center.
The University of Alaska Anchorage is hosting a "Skate with the Seawolves" free event on Sunday (Jan. 31) from 1 - 3 p.m. at the Westchester Lagoon.
Friday, Jan. 29
U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony -- 6 p.m. EST
A replay of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony that honored the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team, Tony Amonte, Tom Barrasso, John LeClair and the late Frank Zamboni in December.
NCAA Men's Ice Hockey -- 8:30 p.m. EST -- Univ. of Denver at Univ. of North Dakota
Two of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's top teams will square off live from Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.
Sunday, Jan. 31
Celebrate the World Junior Championship and World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Champions
NHL Network will celebrate the U.S. National Under-17 Team and U.S. National Junior Team on their championship success by replaying top games from their recent tournaments.
11 a.m. EST -- World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Championship Game (USA vs. Canada-Ontario)
1 p.m. EST -- World Junior Championship Quarterfinal Game in HD (USA vs. Finland)
3 p.m. EST -- World Junior Championship Semifinal Game in HD (USA vs. Sweden)
5 p.m. EST -- World Junior Championship Gold-Medal Game in HD (USA vs. Canada)
Friday, Jan. 29 -- 9:25 a.m. EST
Bill Cleary, leading scorer, 1960 gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team