Rockford IceHogs | IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks…
Official site of the Rockford IceHogs
Proud Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks

IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks Foundation to Award $127,000 in Grants to 10 Rockford Area Organizations


Rockford Park District Receives $34,000 for Junior StreetHogs Outreach Program

The Rockford IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks Foundation will award $127,000 in grants to support nine Rockford area organizations and 10 unique programs for the 2023-24 grant cycle.

The Rockford Park District has received the largest award, a $34,000 grant to support the RPD's "Junior StreetHogs," an outreach program designed to eliminate barriers that often prevent children from learning to play the sport of ice hockey. The grant includes a $17,000 award from the IceHogs Community Fund and a $17,000 match from the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation that funded the purchase of a 70-foot by 35-foot inflatable street hockey rink and will cover the costs for staffing, equipment, and transportation of the rink to numerous events and locations throughout the year.

The rink made its public debut on Monday at Keye-Mallquist Park for a special kick-off event to announce this new partnership. Kids attending the Rockford Park District’s free “Time 2 Play” summer playground program were the first to get a chance to experience the new rink.

9183ac3b 9618 4380 90cf 1fe033ceaec7 thumbnail

The Rockford Park District estimates the "Junior StreetHogs" Outreach Program could serve over 15,000 youth and teens throughout the Rockford region in the next 12 months with an emphasis of introducing the sport of hockey to underserved communities at school events, community events, along with Rockford Park District and IceHogs community engagement events. Some of the barriers the program will seek to remove include cost, equipment, and transportation by providing a free program delivered to neighborhoods throughout the community.

“A lot of youth and teens don’t know how to skate but thanks to this grant we will be able to eliminate the physical barriers and provide youth and teens in every neighborhood the chance to learn a sport they might not have thought was for them. This program will also build self-esteem, create an opportunity to work together as a team, and provide highly skilled instructors who are supportive mentors,” said Lamont Jones, General Manager of Clarence Hicks Memorial Sports Park, Youth Sports Programs, and Community Outreach.

"A primary area of focus for the IceHogs Community Fund is aimed at increasing participation in youth sports, with an emphasis on youth hockey, in our region so we were obviously excited to see the aggressive vision the Park District has for the 'Junior StreetHogs' program," said Dave Costello, Manager of Marketing and Community Relations for the IceHogs. "We believe this program will have a huge impact and will be a really fun way to introduce kids to the great sport of hockey. We also see this as just the first step in elevating our partnership with the Park District with a long-term goal of seeing substantial growth in youth hockey participation in our community."

The IceHogs Community Fund will also be awarding an additional $10,000 grant to the Rockford Park District for its first ever "Buddy Hockey" program that seeks to help eliminate barriers that often prevent youth, teens, and adults with disabilities from learning to play the sport of ice hockey. The grant will allow the Rockford Park District to reach 75 athletes with disabilities to get them to become engaged in the sport of hockey and help them develop an active and healthy lifestyle.

In addition to the two Rockford Park District grants, the IceHogs Community Fund will award grants to these eight organizations as part of the $127,000 in awards for this cycle:

  • Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford (Autism Program)
  • Fred VanVleet Family Foundation
  • Greg Lindmark Foundation
  • Oscar Mike
  • Rockford Hockey Club
  • Rock House Kids
  • Rockford Lax Lacrosse Club
  • Think Big!

More details on these grants will be revealed throughout the summer.

The first public event where kids can utilize the new rink and play street hockey will be at Friday Night Flix on Friday, August 4 as the IceHogs partner with Hard Rock Casino - Rockford to present, Minions: The Rise of Gru. The rink will be set up at Davis Park for kids to use starting at 6 p.m. prior to the movie.

About the IceHogs Community Fund

The IceHogs Community Fund (ICF), supported by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, is invested in making a positive social impact by supporting initiatives that will help make the Rockford region a better place to work, live, and play. Through partnerships with local organizations, the ICF is dedicated to growing the game of hockey by working to broaden exposure and reduce barriers to the sport.

The ICF raises funds throughout the year in a variety of ways, including specialty jersey auctions as well as gameday sales of 50/50 raffle tickets and Chuck-A-Pucks.

About the Rockford Park District

The Rockford Park District’s mission is to 'help people enjoy life' by providing a quality park and recreation system. The Rockford Park District improves the quality of life for citizens by providing a vibrant park system that increases property values, stimulates economic development, decreases juvenile crime, and improves our communities’ health. A vibrant and relevant park system also protects the environment, employs hundreds of area teens, and brings our diverse community together in unity through the common love of play.