The National Sports Center's video producer Amber Johnson shot this great four-minute video documenting the kids from the Hmong International Academy in Minneapolis as they skated on the ice for the first time as part of the Herb Brooks Foundation's Rink Rats program.
The Rink Rats program provides opportunities for children to learn the basics of the game of hockey and skating. The program focus is aimed at kids who wouldn't normally be exposed to the game. Rink Rats has become a core program of the Herb Brooks Foundation’s mission to grow the game of hockey. Over 300 kids are participating in the Rink Rats program this winter season.
Rink Rat programs are held at Hmong International Academy, Lucy Laney, Seward, Dowling, Waite Park, Hale, Jenny Lind, Bancroft, Marcy Open, Northrup and Kenny, all Minneapolis elementary schools. A new St. Paul program is based at Gustafson Phalen Arena, drawing kids from all over the community. The Rink Rats will skate once a week through the end of February.
The major Rink Rats sponsor is Morrie’s Automotive Group. FHIT donates coaches. Herb Brooks’ daughter Kelly Brooks Paradise and his grandsons, Joe and Tommy Paradise have pitched in to coach. Robinson Fresh, Total Hockey and Dave’s Sport Shop are providing additional equipment.