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Hockey boosters receive major equipment donation from NHLPA

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The Hastings Hockey Boosters (HHB) announced today a donation of 25 brand new sets of hockey equipment, courtesy of the National Hockey League Players' Association's (NHLPA) Goals & Dreams fund, according to a press release.

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The release states:

This donation will go towards helping provide mite hockey equipment to families who cannot otherwise afford it.

Derek Stepan, NHLPA member and New York Rangers forward, played an important role in supporting this hockey equipment donation from NHLPA Goals & Dreams to the community he grew up in.

"The Hastings Hockey Boosters gave me the opportunity to chase my dream of reaching the NHL and hopefully this new equipment from the NHLPA will give many more kids here the chance to do the same," Stepan said. "The HHB is well-run with one of the primary goals being to give every child the chance to play the great game of hockey. I'm proud just to be a part of helping further HHB's efforts."

"At a time when families across the country are being forced to tighten their belts, youth athletics can be one of the first casualties," said Brian Jones, HHB President. "In response, we are making every effort to help kids to play hockey without it being cost prohibitive for families. We strive to provide free registration to all beginner level participants, as well as use of free equipment to all first time boys and girls skaters who are in kindergarten or first grade, and beyond to other mite levels if possible. However, this is challenging given the increased cost of equipment, ice time, and other expenses."

"Providing free registration and free use of most equipment has increased our registration numbers at the mite level over the years and we hope to see the numbers go up again, said Brian Jones. "This gives parents and children an opportunity to try hockey without incurring a large up front expense. If kids get into hockey at a young age, they tend to stick with the sport in later years. We are extremely appreciative for the donation of hockey equipment by the NHLPA, which reflects the commitment made to youth hockey by NHL players."

Chairman of the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund, Devin Smith, commented on the success of the players' program, "Over the last 11 years, NHL players have donated more than $20 million to fund and assist grassroots hockey programs around the world. We've sent equipment everywhere from Australia to South Africa, Europe, Malaysia and North America. The biggest obstacle in participating in hockey is the cost of equipment. Our goal is to bridge that gap for less fortunate children."

Hastings Hockey Boosters (HHB) is a non-profit volunteer organization that provides youth hockey for over 600 boys and girls ages 4 through high school in Hastings, MN and the surrounding area. HHB has been in existence since 1958 and developed into an organization that is well respected throughout the hockey and business communities.

In 1999, the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) launched the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. The players' program has donated full sets of hockey equipment that has benefited more than 60,000 economically challenged children in 25 countries and assisted with upgrades and the building of hundreds of arenas world-wide. To date, NHLPA Goals & Dreams has donated more than $20-million to grassroots hockey programs around the world making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA, please visit www.nhlpa.com.

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