COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The seventh annual Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by CCM, concluded last Sunday (March 2) and was highlighted by hundreds of thousands of fans wearing their favorite hockey jerseys, nearly 16,000 boys and girls trying hockey for the first time, millions of viewers watching NBC's Hockey Day in America broadcast, and the sport celebrating its local hockey heroes from coast-to-coast.
"It was perhaps the best Hockey Weekend Across America yet," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "The engagement and participation of those at all levels of the game was outstanding. It was particularly exciting to see the record number of kids come out to try the sport for the very first time."
Each of the three days associated with Hockey Weekend Across America had a theme, including Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day on Friday (Feb. 28); Try Hockey Day on Saturday (March 1); and Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes Day on Sunday (March 2).
On Friday, fans were encouraged to tweet at USA Hockey using #HWAA to share photos of themselves, their friends and colleagues wearing their favorite hockey jersey. Fan also submitted pictures on USA Hockey's Facebook page. To see a collection of images from the day, click here.
On Saturday, a record 15,844 children from across the nation were introduced to hockey for the first time at some 420 Try Hockey for Free events in 47 states. To view images from the day, click here.
On Sunday, local teams and associations honored their hockey heroes in various ways and fans shared stories of their local hockey heroes on Twitter, Facebook and HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com.
Sunday also marked the fourth edition of NBC's "Hockey Day in America" coverage, which included live broadcasts of three NHL games (one on NBC, two on NBCSN) and studio coverage that showcased all levels of hockey.
Also, as part of Hockey Weekend Across America, some 30 aspiring youth officials had the chance to meet and learn from current NHL officials in conjunction with NHL games in American markets over the course of the three days.
Hockey Weekend Across America also included the CCM "Great Day for Hockey" Sweepstakes. The grand prize winners -- Beverly Odden (Fargo, N.D.), Beth Roesler (Yankton, S.D.) and Darlyne Stone (Mulberry, Fla.) -- each received their selection of six CCM products. First-place winners Cheryl Cala (Rochester, N.Y.), Charles Chisam (Nashville, Tenn.) and Barbara Lacien (Dyer, Ind.) collected CCM RBZ hockey sticks. Finally, 30 second-place winners were issued USA Hockey hats. The list includes Helene Schmidt (Sterling Heights, Mich.), Ronald Strause (Fruitland, Iowa), John Barbera (Congers, N.Y.), Tim Zels (Cary, Ill.), Marcia Sobotka (Kennedale, Texas), Valerie Arnold (Cape Coral, Fla.), Susan Sassone (Lake Grove, N.Y.), Mark Wiltgen (Lockport, Ill.), Susan Howard (Buffalo, N.Y.), Katina Marie Neitzel (Big Rapids, Mich.), Keith Crofutt (Chadron, Neb.), Roxanne Parrella (Massapequa, N.Y.), Patrick Kochanowski (Murrysville, Pa.), Denise Anderson (Clio, Mich.), Shawn Ainsworth (Brooklyn, Wis.), Chance Hall (Newcastle, Neb.), Joyce Beebe (Lincoln, Del.), Vince Kilduff (San Jose, Calif.), Vito Biondo (Lake Saint Louis, Mo.), Dawn Tyler (Wanship, Utah), Ronald Ashmore (Stanley, N.C.), Barbara McAdams (Big Rapids, Mich.), John O'Hayer (Ridgefield, Wash.), Ann Sakurada (West Bloomfield, Mich.), Sean Gill (Stow, Mass.), Connie Gentili (Oceanside, Calif.), Christopher Turner (Audubon, Pa.), Susie Klimisch (Yankton, S.D.), Justin Garzia (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Danny Goldberg (Deerfield, Ill.).
Notes: Hockey Weekend Across America was created by USA Hockey in 2008 to engage the hockey community in celebrating the sport of hockey at all levels and exposing the sport to new audiences ... Nineteen NHL and nine NCAA games -- including an exhibition contest between the U.S. National Under-18 Team, part of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, and Michigan State University -- were televised during Hockey Weekend Across America ... USA Hockey's two national Try Hockey for Free Days this season, which are supported by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Total Hockey, included a record 28,446 participants.