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State of Hockey Spotlight : Moorhead

12/07/2016, 9:30am CST
By Kelly Erickson

Get to know one of Minnesota's historic hockey communities

WHY THEY’RE AWESOME

The community-based model is taken to heart throughout each level and facet of the association. Regardless of your role or what team you play on, there’s passion for the game and the community they’ve built. 

“Whether it be the pride that our kids feel in being a Spud or the membership (our parents and volunteers), or the pride that they have in being a part of our hockey community, it all fits together with the community model,” Moorhead Youth Hockey Association (MYHA) Executive Director Rob Gramer said. 

“We’re all Spuds and we’re in this together.”

KEEPING THE LEGACY ALIVE

Tradition is strong in Moorhead. With a passionate hockey community that’s been invested in the game since the association first started 50 years ago, MYHA has kept the ideals of its founders alive: if you want to play, there’s a place for you at Moorhead Youth Hockey.

“The strength of our hockey community and the alumni really allow us to sustain what our program has always meant to be,” Gramer said. 

The passion in the community is telling in the generations that have played in a Spud sweater. Some MYHA players today are second and third generation Spuds. Alumni return home to give their kids the same experience they had, helping strengthen the community and the program.

A STRONG CULTURE

With the strong community and its legacy alive and well, Moorhead has a strong on-ice culture that it hopes to continue to instill in the generations to come.

“We want effort, we want our kids to be learning,” Gramer said. “We want them to be able to feel free to create, make mistakes and develop as hockey players and people. And also have that translate throughout our entire organization.”

Their passion and pride goes hand in hand with their efforts to grow the game. As is consistent throughout youth hockey in Minnesota, Gramer said they aim to expose the game to as many kids as possible. In order to facilitate that goal, they also want to reduce the strain both financially and time-wise on families. The association is continually working to mature their finances in order to keep registration fees reasonable, create scholarships or offer reduced fees for families and subsidize the cost of equipment as needed, providing equipment for Mites through 8U.

They’ve also focused on growing the girls’ game. Two years ago, they had 101 girls. Last year that went up to 111, and this year they have 132 girls on the ice. The growth follows some specific initiatives they’ve put in place.

“How that ties into our whole culture is, if we can continue to get those numbers up, we can continue to provide opportunities to whoever wants to play,” Gramer said. “But specifically, the more numbers we have on our girls’ side, the more that experience for them can mirror the exact same experience the boys are getting.”

“If someone wants to play hockey, they should be able to play.”

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