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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Griffins Youth Foundation on Tuesday announced a donation of 20 brand new sets of hockey equipment, courtesy of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Goals & Dreams fund. This donation will help the foundation continue to provide opportunities for 300 kids – many of whom are underprivileged, underserved or have other special needs – to participate in the great sport of hockey at no cost.

“It is thanks to so many great organizations like the NHLPA that we are able to do the things we do to serve these terrific kids,” said Bob Kaser, president of the foundation and vice president of broadcasting and community relations for the Grand Rapids Griffins. “Over the years, our program has touched the lives of thousands of kids and grown dramatically. With donations such as this one from NHLPA Goals & Dreams, we’ll continue to enhance our existing programs and pursue further expansion in the near future.”

Established in 1995, the Griffins Youth Foundation promotes academic excellence, community involvement and healthy lifestyles among the youth of West Michigan, enhancing their lives through hockey and ice-related sports. The foundation’s programs include hockey for first through ninth graders and a girls-only division, as well as the Grand Rapids Sled Wings sled hockey team for physically challenged kids and teens. For more information, visit

Former Grand Rapids Griffin and current Detroit Red Wing Justin Abdelkader, who grew up in nearby Muskegon, Mich., is thrilled about this opportunity to help give back to the game and area he loves. “The Griffins Youth Foundation is a great organization that NHL players are happy to support,” said Abdelkader. “Hockey is such an expensive sport to play, so I’m glad we can help grow the game and give kids the opportunity to play it, especially in the area where I grew up.”

The chairman of the Goals & Dreams fund, Devin Smith, commented on the success of the program. “Over the last 11 years, NHL players have donated more than $20 million to fund and assist grassroots hockey programs around the world,” said Smith. “We’ve sent equipment everywhere from Australia to South Africa, Europe, Malaysia and North America. The biggest obstacle in participating in hockey is the cost of equipment. Our goal is to bridge that gap for less fortunate children.”

In 1999, the NHLPA launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. Over the past 11 years, more than 60,000 deserving children in 25 countries have benefited from the players’ donation of hockey equipment. NHLPA Goals & Dreams has donated more than $20 million to grassroots hockey programs, making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA, please visit

For more information, please contact:
Jonathan Weatherdon
Director, Communications
National Hockey League Players’ Association
(416) 313-2316

Lynn Rabaut
Executive Director
Griffins Youth Foundation
(616) 970-5437

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Grand Rapids Griffins
130 West Fulton Suite 111
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616)774-4585 (800)2-HOCKEY

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