Rams Hockey topping growth charts in Michigan

Winter sports, ice rinks and hockey may be the furthest thing from your mind with our recent heat wave. In spite of our roasting temperatures this summer, Rockford Hockey Association (Rams Hockey) is thinking winter, snow and ice hockey right now in both planning for their 2012-13 season, and with recent exciting news from USA Hockey.

USA Hockey, the national governing body for youth hockey in the United States, recently published yearly findings in their 2011-12 Membership Report. Ram Hockey is climbing the charts in two categories, overall association growth and meeting national challenge goals.

In the broad scope of hockey, nationally, there are more people playing hockey this year than last. Additionally, Michigan happens to boast the second largest hockey population in the country. Ram Hockey has been ranked number two overall for growth in the entire state of Michigan. As well, they have been recognized as one of only 11 associations in the state to meet all components of the 2-and-2 Challenge goals. The 2-and-2 Challenge is a comprehensive growth program that guides youth hockey leadership through national programs to realize growth through retention, acquisition and conversion.

Rams Hockey Growth Coordinator Tammy Christian said, “Meeting these nationally recognized Challenge goals, and showing an 80 percent increase in overall association growth in our 2011-12 season is remarkable. Our association volunteers are working hard to retain our current membership of families and players, and also find ways to allow the youth in Rockford and our surrounding communities the opportunity to experience the great game of hockey.”

Rams Hockey is poised to maintain their growth momentum with goals and initiatives already in place for the 2012-13 season. These will include hosting Try Hockey for Free Day in November, and Learn-to-Skate and Learn-to-Play Hockey programs that will start up in September.

Try Hockey for Free Day is a nationally recognized and celebrated program in which youth hockey associations across the country encourage kids ages 4 to 9 to come to a local rink and try out the game free of charge. Rams Hockey’s Learn-to-Skate and Learn-to-Play programs are offered at reasonable prices, are only eight weeks in length, and starter equipment rentals are available.

Christian said, “We have recently updated and increased our equipment rental inventories, which allows for less initial investment in giving hockey a try. Every parent knows the scenario of spending hundreds of dollars on equipment only to have their child decide, shortly after purchase, they don’t want to play that sport. Rental equipment programs take away that risk for families. Again, it’s about giving our area youth the opportunity to give this sport a shot.”

In addition to Learn-to-Skate and Learn-to-Play Hockey programs, Rams Hockey offers house hockey teams for ADM/Mite through Midget levels of play, and travel teams. They are currently wrapping up formation of their house teams for 2012-13 and if interested, more information and registration can be found online at www.ramshockey.org.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of Rams Hockey with programs and plans for 2012-13, as well as the volunteers, coaches, families and players in place to continue the momentum of this growing association. The Rockford Hockey Association, is a 501(c)3 youth hockey association, and a Red Wings Premiere Association. To learn more about Rams Hockey you can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ramshockey or visit our website at www.ramshockey.org.

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.