Hockey made these kids Kings for a day
Challenger’s Boys and Girls Club
Inner-city youth aren’t to be confused with your average crop of zesty youngsters.
Sure, some have the admirable, albeit normal, aspiration to graduate from college, and many others have an equally common affinity for music, fashion and/or the latest sure-fire phenomenon, reality TV.
But, unlike those who live in affluent communities, and therefore rise every morning under the safety bubble that typically sheaths such areas, urban adolescents often lay their heads down to the sounds of screaming police sirens, roaring helicopters—“ghetto-birds” as referenced by urbanites—and sometimes rapid gunfire.
Another way these groups differ is by the sports they play. Of course, basketball and football appeal to just about every red-blooded American spectator. But it’s on baseball diamonds, soccer fields and other White-dominated sports arenas that provincial lines are drawn.
Ice hockey, originally a Canadian pastime, is widely considered the most non-urban sport of all.
Ask any number of Compton or South Central natives which National Hockey League franchise won last year’s Stanley Cup—awarded annually to the NHL playoff champion—and their response may be, who’s Stanley?
Nevertheless, a partnership continues to grow between the Los Angeles Kings and South Central’s Challengers Boys and Girls Club to ensure that hockey isn’t lost on future generations.
“The kids have been provided with tremendous opportunities,” says Challengers director of development Angela Winston. “Our main goal with the Los Angeles Kings is to expand on their theme ‘hockey is for everyone.’”
Tuesday, more than 200 students were invited to skate and play hockey, many for the first time, at Toyota Sports Center, the Kings’ practice facility in El Segundo. Waiting for them was Wayne Simmonds, the team’s only Black player, and one of the few in the NHL.
For hours, the Canadian-born, 22-year-old forward gave the first-timers skating lessons, and led them through technique and skill-building exercises.
“The kids seemed to have responded well,” Winston recalls. “Most of them don’t get exposed to ice hockey, attend Kings’ games, or even learn to ice skate so the partnership, especially the event with Wayne, is a special opportunity for our youth to gain that exposure.”
Today, Feb. 16, the Los Angeles Kings will feature three original Tuskegee Airmen (the first African American military aviators) as their “Heroes of the Game,” and will split 100 tickets between Brotherhood Crusade and Challengers Boys and Girls Club. Additionally, on Friday, Feb. 17, the Kings will conduct a Street Knights Clinic at Challengers Club.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The planned sale of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns Staples Center, L.A. Live and the Los Angeles Kings and is the driving force behind plans to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, was halted today.
AEG Chairman Philip Anschutz, said he plans to take a more active role in the company, while Tim Leiweke, AEG’s president/CEO who has often been the local face of the company, will be leaving “by mutual agreement.”
Despite the usual glum surrounding the issue of education, there are educators who are adamant about making productive changes in schools such as at Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School. The Summer Cool Program is just the beginning of something revolutionary at the school with the potential to change the community as well.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Looking back two decades, Betsy Pfromm recalls her first days on Vermont Avenue in Exposition Park running Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic: “The civil unrest of the early 90s put a spotlight on crushing needs in South L.A. Fortunately, the Clinic was in great position to rally support from philanthropy and launch a model facility in the heart of the unrest—and in doing so, created new hope for local children and youth.”
NEW YORK, N.Y.—In an effort to educate teens about how to be smart about what they post and share online, WhatsWhat.me—the safe, secure “kids-only” social network—has joined the Ad Council’s new collaborative initiative, the Internet Safety Coalition, to provide research-based messages to teens and their parents.