Proud American Hockey League Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks

Buy Tickets

IceHogs News

A TRADITION OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

By: Fritz Stillings
Lavin, Smith and Head Coach Ted Dent

Rockford, Ill. - Beyond the skill and athleticism shown on the BMO Harris Bank Center ice night in and night out, Rockford IceHogs skaters aim to inspire the Rockford youth and community both with and without a pair of skates.

“As people, I think it’s important we give back,” said IceHogs forward Ben Smith, “especially when we’re very fortunate to do what we do, and have the lifestyle that we have.”
 
The third-year pro, much like most of his teammates, is no stranger to the Rockford community, making many appearances at local schools, hospitals and events throughout his career with the Hogs.
 
“The organization does such a great job giving us opportunities that all of it’s very special,” said Smith. “I think visiting schools and especially reading to younger kids is always very rewarding, as is going to play floor hockey and visiting people in hospitals.”
 
This season, the Hogs even began to give back to the community prior to the start of training camp in late September, when Kyle Beach, Mac Carruth, Jimmy Hayes, Joe Lavin, Nick Leddy, Jeremy Morin, Brandon Pirri, Kent Simpson, Smith and Ryan Stanton all joined together with the Make-A-Wish foundation and appeared as “Celebrity Scoopers” at the Rockford Cold Stone Creamery.
 
Since the beginning of October, players have committed to more than 70 youth hockey clinics, reading nights, school appearances, bowling events and various other charitable and community events within the Rockford area.
 
“Bowling events, floor hockey events, the events where we can get involved and set an example for kids are the memorable ones,” said Lavin. “It’s important to give back, especially since everybody grew up and did the same thing: we all went through the ringer and had high aspirations and dreams, so I think it’s really important as a person and as a player to give back.”
 
Many Hogs - including Adam Clendening, Hayes, Carter Hutton and Brandon Svendsen – have sacrificed their personal time to make it out to schools and hospitals to spend that time reading to students and children. When signing autographs after appearances and reading events, Hutton makes it clear that “if there aren’t any fans, he doesn’t have job.”
 
But community involvement started before coming to Rockford for some players, including both Lavin and Smith.
 
Lavin, a Shrewsbury, Mass. native who attended Notre Dame, and Smith, an Avon, Conn. native who attended Boston College, each helped out in their college town communities during their collegiate hockey playing careers.
 
“We worked a lot with special needs kids, we went to nursing homes, we helped out with different community events for kids in the (South Bend, Ind.) area,” said Lavin. “I’ve always enjoyed it, and it’s good to help out. Everybody appreciates the help, but it’s the unselfish acts and things like that make it all worth it.”
 
For Smith, the ability to give back and volunteer while a student-athlete at Boston College were similar to the ones he has had in Rockford.
 
“We had a lot of opportunity through the student-athlete advisory committee,” said Smith, who often visited hospitals and schools in the Boston area in an effort to “try to inspire and up-lift some inner-city students.”
 
The hospital visits carried into joining Rockford for both players. Along with Clendening, Hayes, Marcus Kruger, Leddy, Morin, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Stanton, Lavin and Smith helped deliver and handout teddy bears that were collected from the IceHogs Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 8 to patients at Rockford Memorial Hospital and Swedish American Hospital during the holidays.
 
And the IceHogs fan base has recognized the achievements of these players both off the ice and their gritty play on the ice. Smith was voted the “Rookie of the Year” in 2011 and Rockford’s “Man of the Year” last season, while Lavin proceeded Smith with the Rookie of the Year award.
 
For Lavin, Smith and the rest of the IceHogs skaters, giving back to the fans and the Rockford community won’t stop, said Smith: “It’s a great part of being a professional hockey player and something that I think we all look forward to doing and will continue to do down the road.”



Search Archive »




Browse by Year »

2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
200

Browse by Month »

October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
December 0200