The Rink Rats program provides opportunities for more children to learn about the great game of hockey. The program focus is for kids who wouldn't normally be exposed to the game, and the program is a core part of the HBF's mission to grow the game of hockey. During the 2017-18 winter, the Herb Brooks Foundation will host Rink Rats programs at 12 Minneapolis schools or local parks and 3 St. Paul indoor arenas.
In Minneapolis students participate in dryland training during the fall to learn the fundamentals of hockey and teamwork from professional coaches in a floor hockey setting before taking to the ice when outdoor park rinks open in January. The students continue the on-ice portion of the program until the ice melts on the outdoor rinks, usually in late February.
Minneapolis schools that are participating in the program in 2017-18 include Seward, Waite Park, Hale, Hmong International Academy, Marcy Open, Jenny Lind, Bancroft, Sonnesyn, Green Central, Northrop, Dowling, and Kenny Elementary Schools.
In St. Paul the Rink Rats program operates at indoor arenas. Alongside Gustafson-Phalen and Harding Arenas, the Rink Rats program will expand to a third location utilizing the new Minnesota Wild Practice facility in downtown St. Paul in January 2018!
The Rink Rats Program would not happen without the support of St. Paul and Minneapolis community services programs, the Saint Paul Police Athletic League, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the cooperation of Minneapolis Public Schools, the coaches that come to us from the FHIT program at the Herb Brooks Training Center, the National Hockey League Players Association and the generous sponsorship of Morrie’s Automotive Group, which is providing the student transportation from the schools to the local parks in Minneapolis. Other sponsors include Dave’s Sport Shop, the Butzow Foundation, the Minnesota Wild Foundation, Let’s Play Hockey, RBC Wealth Management, and the St. Paul Police Activities League program.