ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- After scrambling hard to collect enough used hockey equipment to donate to kids in need to win a trip to Sweden, the North Rockland Youth Hockey Association bantam team members were able to pull it off and recently returned from their exciting adventure, according to the National Hockey League Players' Association.
"Our entire youth hockey board and association couldn't be prouder of how hard these players, coaches, parents, and team manager Jennifer Frawley worked to win this trip and more importantly give some kids who wouldn't be able to play hockey the opportunity by collecting donated equipment" said North Rockland League President Steve Apicella.
During the trip, the 16 players (ages 13 to 15), along with relatives and coaches, also received a chance to play against Frölunda Hockey Club and meet Rangers goalie and Frölunda alumnus Henrik Lundqvist, said the NHLPA.
“The players are very proud of our Goals & Dreams program and look forward to getting the kids get on the ice,” said Lundqvist, who surprised both the North Rockland team and the Frölunda youth players on the ice in Gothenberg, Sweden.
Lundqvist traveled to Sweden as part of the League's Goals & Dreams program in which he presented the Swedish team with 60 sets of brand new youth hockey equipment, said NHLPA.
"Traveling to Sweden was an incredible experience they will never forget and meeting Henrik Lundqvist was an added highlight," said Apicella.
The team won the trip through a drive sponsored by the New York Rangers Assist, which works to increase opportunities and accessibility to the sport. They held the equipment drive contest in the Tri-State area. Local bantam aged players were encouraged to enter as a team to benefit local youth hockey players in need, added NHLPA.
The North Rockland Youth Hockey Association team managed to come out on top and were treated to the trip which included a chance play in an exhibition game versus the Frölunda youth hockey program (they lost), host a “Try Hockey for Free” clinic and much more, during their five day trip.
" Collecting equipment for kids who are not as fortunate and our players realizing how lucky they are to be able to play the sport is a life lesson that is inspiring them to get involved and start collecting equipment for the next drive," added Apicella.