Monday, July 28, 2008

Host a USA Hockey Player


One of the many very cool things in Ann Arbor is that the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP) makes it's home here. There are more than 25,000 young hockey players who participate in this program nationwide, and each summer, USA Hockey chooses the best 46 from around the country to take part in the elite NTDP program.

Each year, dozens of exceptional Ann Arbor families open their homes to these 46 of the finest American amateur hockey players in the nation, who are aged 15 to 16. These selfless families "adopt" a player to come live with them for the school year. These families become vital to the success of the program. USA Hockey is always in need of families to take in players and provide homes and a family environment for the student-athletes who attend Pioneer High School.

Since the NTDP was founded in 1996, a total of 19 alumni have gone on to play at the University of Michigan, three of whom went on to serve as Captains -- Eric Nystrom, Matt Hunwick, and Kevin Porter. Porter was named the winner of the 2008 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to college hockey's top student-athlete.

The NTDP was created to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on the US National teams and success in their future hockey careers. It's efforts not only focus on high-caliber on-ice performance, but in creating well rounded individuals and good citizens off the ice.

Over 140 NTDP players have been drafted by NHL Teams, including number one overall selections -- Rick DiPietro, Erik Johnson and Patrick Kane. Over 40 NTDP alumni saw action in the NHL last year. More than 300 NTDP players have signed national Letters of Intent with NCAA Division I hockey programs.

Mary and I "adopted" a NTDP player, who stayed with us for two years. He was a great young man with a great work ethic, who was an inspiration to our whole family. Not only that, we have become life-long friends with his family. He has gone on to play collegiate hockey, and is currently playing for Yale University.

If you choose to become a host family, not only do you get the opportunity to help the program and create great friendships, you also get the opportunity to watch some pretty incredible hockey.

All host families receive a monthly stipend from USA Hockey, as well as free season tickets. If you would like more information on becoming a host family, please contact USA Hockey at (734) 327-9251 x24