NLYHA awarded 'Gear Up' grant


The Northern Lakes Youth Hockey Association has received a $1,500 grant for starter hockey equipment through Minnesota Hockey's Gear Up Minnesota equipment grant program, presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.

This grant program is designed to enable more kids in the Pequot Lakes, Pine River-Backus, Crosslake, Aitkin and Crosby-Ironton School Districts and across the state to experience the game of hockey without the initial cost of equipment.

"We look forward to using this equipment to introduce kids to ice hockey" Association President Matt Balmer said. "Our goal is for every family in those school districts we serve to have the opportunity to try our great sport and enjoy seeing their kids learn new skills with big smiles on their faces."

Since 2010, Gear Up Minnesota has distributed over $600,000 worth of starter equipment to over 120 unique community associations, making it the most successful program of its kind in the United States.

New this season, Dick's Sporting Goods will be distributing the grant in the form of gifts cards, which can be utilized to purchase the equipment most needed in our community.

Northern Lakes Youth Hockey Association will be using the gift cards for skates, breezers, shin pads, chest protectors, elbow pads and helmets to provide that gear to families in our association. Northern Lakes provides free hockey equipment for all players through the fifth grade.

Northern Lakes Youth Hockey Association would like to thank Dick's Sporting Goods, the Minnesota Wild Foundation, and Northwest Designs for their support of Gear Up Minnesota and helping make the game of hockey more accessible in our community.

For more information on how to take advantage of this special opportunity to try hockey, please visit to find all of the details on the Come Try Hockey tab.