Rockford Icehogs Electrify Rockford

Submitted By Avalanche33
Words: 1054
Pages: 5

The Rockford IceHogs Electrify Rockford
Welcome to Rockford, Illinois! Rockford is the third largest city in the state of Illinois, with an estimated population of 160,000 residents. Deemed the “Forest City,” Rockford is known for its beautiful tree-filled environment that mingles among the Rock River. Located between the windy city of Chicago, and the state line of Wisconsin; Rockford is a city with an abundance of opportunities, and a great place to raise a family. Although the reputation of Rockford has fallen victim to the increase of crime rates, the amount of positive aspects throughout the community are sure to out-weigh the negative. One of the most dynamic influences on the community is a professional hockey team, the Rockford IceHogs. The Rockford IceHogs have served as the communities leading entertainment for the past fifteen years, and in addition; they have also contributed to the community through charitable fundraisers, and youth hockey programs. Founded in 1999, the Rockford IceHogs were introduced as Rockford’s first professional hockey team. From the beginning, the community was involved in the conception of the team. The local paper; the Rockford Register Star held a city-wide fan-poll allowing residents to vote on the team name. While spending eight seasons in the United Hockey League, the team made a strong and positive impact among residents. Suddenly, the downtown area of Rockford was booming again! Restaurants, bars and local shops prospered from the new crowds that were being drawn to the area, both before and after games. As a result of the organizations success on and off the ice, the IceHogs was named the UHL’s ‘Member Club of the Year’ for two straight seasons, ranging from 2004-2006. In 2007-2008, the Rockford IceHogs signed a ten-year affiliation deal with none other than the Chicago Blackhawks. The organization and fans both felt that their dreams come true. Since 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks have won two Stanley Cup awards, and among the victors were twelve previous IceHogs players. (Rockford Icehogs, 2014) In correlation; attendance has continued to sky-rocket. “Coming into our 16th season, the IceHogs have set an all-time record for season attendance!” exclaims a representative for the BMO Bank Center (Bmo Harris Bank Center, 2014). Aside from the incredible entertainment factor the IceHogs bring to Rockford; they also play a critical role in the betterment of the community. The IceHogs Charitable Foundation is a foundation established to benefit local, non-profit charitable organizations throughout the Rockford community. One of the most lucrative fundraisers is the ‘Annual Charity Jersey Auction’ which allows fans to bid on game-worn and autographed jerseys. During the first twelve seasons, the IceHogs raised over 770,000 dollars to go toward charity; among that massive number, 600,000 dollars was contributed solely from the ‘Annual Charity Jersey Auction’ (Rockford Icehogs, 2014). On April 19th, 2014, BMO Harris Bank and the Rockford IceHogs donated a total of 6,000 dollars to the United Way of Rock River Valley, while also donating 2,700 pairs of socks for ‘Project Undershare’ (Schreck, 2014). Without exclusion, other fundraisers such as the annual ‘Bowl-a-Thon’ for the Sydney Ives Foundation, and the annual ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ for children in local hospitals (Tosti, 2013), also reflect the immense joy and dedication that this organization brings to the Rockford community. “The Team, including players, coaches, front office members, and mascots Hammy and Hammer Hog, made 183 community appearances in 2010-2011.” (Rockford Icehogs, 2014) Not restricted to their charitable foundation, the IceHogs pride themselves on the involvement they have in youth hockey programs in the area. On August 20, 2003, the IceHogs announced a partnership with the Rockford Park District; through this partnership the Junior IceHogs youth hockey program was born. The program offers a variety of