Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois), Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and several members of the Chicago Blackhawks held a youth hockey clinic Tuesday at Center on Halsted
in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.
"Hockey is for everyone, and it's important that we give kids of all backgrounds the opportunity to play sports," said Congressman Quigley. "I want to thank the Blackhawks, the Mayor, and Center on Halsted
for joining me to help promote an active lifestyle and the greatest game there is."
Blackhawk players Denis Savard, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Brett McLean led neighborhood kids in hockey drills, team-building exercises, and scrimmages.
Quigley and Blackhawks Charities also donated hockey equipment for permanent use at the Center.
"I am committed to building a healthier Chicago which focuses on providing children more opportunities to be physically active," said Mayor Emanuel.
In 2005, then-Congressman Emanuel secured $1.25 million in federal funds for construction of the 175,000 square foot Center, which was opened in 2007.
"Athletics can help young people build confidence and leadership," added Center on Halsted
CEO Modesto ‘Tico' Valle. "Unfortunately, too many LGBT youth are prevented from participating fully in team sports because of bullying or other obstacles. We're proud to work with Mayor Emanuel, Rep. Quigley, and the Chicago Blackhawks to provide the equipment, the training and the safe environment necessary for LGBT youth to participate."
Tuesday's event coincides with the National Hockey League's "Hockey is for Everyone" program and First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign.