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January 22, 2014

Berkley Youth Hockey Association set to host free day of frozen sport

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

BERKLEY — With an assist from the winter Olympics, now just a few weeks away, the Berkley Youth Hockey Association (BYHA) is looking to generate a little bit of added momentum for its cause, and the sport it represents.

And it’s doing so by offering a day of free hockey.

“We’re trying to grow the Association,” Berkley Unified coach Jeff Fleming said last week. “In Michigan, we all know hockey is big around here, with the Red Wings and with the state itself, but being an Olympic year, there’s a chance some more kids will be exposed to the game than usual. We want to draw on that with these opportunities.”

The “Try Hockey for Free Day” will serve as the main event.

On Feb. 1, from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Berkley Ice Arena, kids aged 4-10 are welcome to come learn and practice the game, free of charge.

Coaches, players and parents from the BYHA, as well as the high school team, will be on hand to help equip kids and teach them to play the game, Fleming explained.

“We want to get the word out about our youth hockey association, what we’re doing here and how great this sport can be,” he added. “This is a great way to do that.”

Fleming said the BYHA also opens the ice for kids 8 and  younger every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday at 9:30 a.m. for no charge.

“When it comes to the game of hockey, starting young is so important,” Fleming said. “Hockey isn’t a game you can just pick up and really go with. The fundamentals and the basics are all taught at an early age, and that’s key. … And when you generate that interest at a younger age, it feeds into the high school program in the future.”

In conjunction with the BYHA, the Berkley Ice Arena is also serving as a host for USA Hockey’s “Hockey Weekend Across America” on March 1 from 9-11 a.m.

BYHA coaches and players will be on hand to assist new players in learning the game, while a limited amount of loaner equipment will also be available during the session.

“Hockey Weekend Across America is one of the marquee events on the calendar each year,” Dave Ogrean, the executive director of USA Hockey, said in a press release about the event. “This year will be unique, as we’ll celebrate Hockey Weekend Across America the weekend immediately following the conclusion of the Olympic Winter Games.”

For more information, or to register for any of the upcoming events, visit www.berkleyyouthhockey.com or HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.