DETROIT (BVM) — A local youth hockey organization gives new meaning to Hockeytown.
Detroit Ice Dreams offers kids a whole world of opportunities. They give young people a chance to skate their way to success.
Founder Jason McCrimmon brings his homegrown passion and personal expertise to the program. The Detroit native rose all the way through the amateur ranks to play hockey as a professional. Today, he coaches the game and provides his community with a valuable resource.
Detroit Ice Dreams promotes academic achievement and teaches kids important lessons they can use for the future.
McCrimmon gave us a look into the program.
“We started in 2014 so we’re going on our eighth year right now,” he said. “Every year [it has grown] leaps and bounds. Some years we may get more girls in our program, we might get more kids from the ages 4 to 7, so every year it kind of varies. But overall, the main thing that we’re excited about, we can continue to grow with our numbers.
“Our push toward our girl’s program is now growing. We want to be in a situation [where] we can add a referee program to our Detroit ice rinks as well for the kids that age out, or even the kids that are 12,13, 14 years old to become hockey referees and stay part of the game as well as earning an income like that.”
Beyond that, McCrimmon takes pride in his role as Detroit Red Wings youth ambassador.
“I’m very, very grateful to have that role,” he said. “It was actually put together by [Ilitch Sports + Entertainment community impact director] Kevin Brown and [the late community leader] Marlowe Stoudamire. We also have a scholarship foundation for Detroit Ice Dreams in the name of Marlowe Stoudamire. That’s how big he was for me and the impact he made on the partnership we were able to build with the Detroit Red Wings.
“But with the youth ambassador aspect we’re kind of in a position to build in the gap between the inner city and the city of Detroit to get the game of hockey out a lot more. Over the summer coming up, we’ll have a couple recreation centers and churches that we’ll partner up with that have day camps and that type of stuff to get more young kids involved in floor hockey and street hockey. Then, hopefully we can try and move those kids from street hockey and floor hockey to the ice arena and grow those guys and girls as NHL fans and Red Wings fans.”
McCrimmon shared his long-term vision for the group, and the future looks quite promising.
“We want to be in a situation the next couple of years, myself and Cynthia Wardlaw, who is our program manager and just a huge, huge heartbeat for our program,” he said. “Detroit Ice Dreams is now expanding to Southfield, to Redford, other places in the state [and focusing] on getting more kids exposed to the game. [To be] in a situation where we can create more long-lasting partnerships to be able to get a bigger reach out to the kids in the city. We just want to continue to grow, to be a part of our community, do right by our community and encourage the kids to be whatever they want to be.”