CYAH: Hockey Weekend Across America
During the 2006-2007 season, the Carolina Hurricanes created Canes Youth and Amateur Hockey (CYAH) in an effort to strengthen the organization’s involvement in the local youth and amateur hockey community. Over the past five years, CYAH has had a major impact on the local hockey community through programs such as the Capital City Crew, Raleigh Youth Hockey Association, and Triangle Special Hockey Association. As Hockey Weekend Across America is quickly approaching (February 18-20), we wanted to take some time to highlight the initiatives that Canes Youth and Amateur Hockey take great pride in.
The Capital City Crew, in its second season, is part of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Hockey is for Everyone initiative that is supported by the Kids ‘N Community Foundation. The Capital City Crew gives children from the Wake County Boys and Girls Clubs the opportunity to play hockey at no cost and serves as a Learn to Play program. Along with giving kids the opportunity to play hockey, the Capital City Crew also focuses on teaching those kids important life skills such as setting goals, managing emotions, and living a healthy lifestyle.
The Raleigh Youth Hockey Association (RYHA) is a non-profit organization that serves approximately 1,500 kids between the ages of 5-18. RYHA offers house and travel programs to both boys and girls. The organization is run by parent volunteers and the coaches dedicate their time in order to develop good hockey players and ensure that the kids have fun playing the game.
Founded in 2007, Triangle Special Hockey Association (TSHA) provides developmentally and physically disabled children and adults with a recreational hockey program free of charge. TSHA was founded to encourage people with disabilities to participate in hockey and to use the game to help develop confidence, dependability, and other personal characteristics in those individuals. This past fall, the program has introduced a sledge hockey team that has appealed to many adults through out the area. TSHA is strictly volunteer operated and is supported by the Kids ‘N Community Foundation and Erik Cole Dream Big Foundation.
Besides being involved with three local hockey organizations, CYAH reaches out to the community through initiatives such as the Wake County In-School Program and Canes Street Stormers. Both of these programs are free of charge and focus on getting a stick in a kid’s hands.
The Wake County In-School Program is designed to teach children the fundamentals of the sport in their Physical Education classes. The Promotions and Fan Development staff go into elementary and middle school physical education classes and work with students on the basics of hockey including stickhandling, passing, and shooting. The staff provides all of the equipment necessary and the program is free of charge to the teachers.
Canes Street Stormers targets local community centers and Boys and Girls Clubs and these centers receive equipment donations and a free hockey clinic. Street Stormers is designed to actively incorporate hockey into the program center’s curriculum and give children the necessary equipment to be able to participate in street hockey.
Along with expanding interest to those who may have never played hockey before, CYAH also offers programs for those who are already active in the sport. Every summer, the Youth and Amateur Hockey staff (with the help of a few other local hockey coaches) puts on a hockey camp. The camps are held at the RecZone and are split into weeks based on age/talent. Each group gets a week of on and off ice training and at the end of the week, each group gets to play the infamous Super Friday game. This summer, there will be an additional week designated just to girls 14 and under.
Also put together by the Hurricanes organization and Youth and Amateur Hockey Coordinator, Paul Strand, is the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament team. The team is comprised of 12-13 year olds from North Carolina and the surrounding southern states. The team travels to Quebec to play in one of the largest tournaments in world and get the opportunity of a lifetime. The Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament is one of the largest youth sports tournaments in the world and includes teams from over 16 countries and over 2,000 youth hockey players. The Quebec team is currently competing in Quebec, and you can follow them on twitter. Good luck to our Quebec Jr. Canes and bring us home a trophy!
Also appealing to youth and amateur hockey teams is the “Rink of Dreams” ticket package. Hockey teams have the opportunity to skate on the Hurricanes home ice prior to a ‘Canes home game if the team purchases 200 or more tickets to that game. For more information about the “Rink of Dreams” group experience, contact Will Tomlinson at 919-861-6237.
Lastly, you don’t need to play the game of hockey to partake in Hockey Weekend Across America! USA Hockey is asking that all hockey fans wear their favorite jersey, whether it be your team’s jersey, an old school throwback, or a Hurricanes jersey, to school or work on Friday, February 18th .