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 2016-17 winter, the Herb Brooks Foundation will host Rink Rats programs at 10 Minneapolis schools or local parks.
Schools that are participating in the program in 2016-17 include Seward, Waite Park, Hale, Hmong International Academy, Marcy Open, Jenny Lind, Bancroft, Sonnyson, Green Central and Kenny Elementary Schools.
The 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 opened in January. The students continue the on-ice portion of the program until the ice melts on the outdoor rinks, usually in late February.
In addition to the Minneapolis programs, the Rink Rats program expanded into the Saint Paul area in 2014. The Saint Paul program grew significantly in 2015-16, with Arena and the Vadnais Sports Center. Volunteer coaches from the Saint Paul Police Athletic League led the program.
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.