The program is fueled by money from the NHL’s Industry Growth Fund grant, funding that's available to any professional hockey team wanting to help grow the game, and it is supported by National Hockey League Players’ Association, while Franklin Sports supplies the sticks and balls given away.

Is the program working?

“A mother came up to our tent to tell us her daughter is playing hockey in Colorado Springs because of our Game On setup at last year’s fair,” Encarnacao said. 

The Avalanche hope this year that more young athletes like Shane use their new sticks to pick up hockey, and Shane already has a teammate with which he can start to develop his game.

“I’m going to play at home with my dad — he got a stick, too!” Shane said.

Girls and boys of all ages learned the basics of street hockey from several Avalanche alumni and even team mascot Bernie. Photo courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche

Girls and boys of all ages learned the basics of street hockey from several Avalanche alumni and even team mascot Bernie. Photo courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche