The 18th annual Great Skate Winterfest, set for Jan. 16-17, 2021 at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, has been canceled due to the realities of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The beloved fundraiser for the Griffins Youth Foundation will return in January 2022.
“Given the recent delay of the American Hockey League’s target start date to Feb. 5, the difficulty of rescheduling within a compressed Griffins game schedule before the onset of spring, and most notably the unique up-close-and-personal nature of our event, we’ve had to make the difficult but inevitable decision to cancel this season’s Great Skate Winterfest,” said event founder Bob Kaser, the Grand Rapids Griffins’ vice president of community relations and broadcasting who also serves as president of the Griffins Youth Foundation.
“This is extremely disappointing for our team, our fans and our foundation, which receives more than $30,000 from the Great Skate Winterfest each year and will have to do without a crucial funding component for its programming. However, as we look to bring it back better than ever in 2022, we are excited about an alternative online fundraising event that’s on the drawing board of our event co-chairs – Kirk Morgan of the foundation and Randy Cleves of the Griffins – and we look forward to sharing details with all of our supporters in the coming weeks,” added Kaser.
Anyone wishing to support the Griffins Youth Foundation’s mission is invited to make a secure online donation by visiting griffinskids.org.
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 provides opportunities for nearly 500 deserving boys and girls – many of whom are underprivileged, underserved, at-risk or have special needs – to participate in the great sport of hockey at no cost. Programs currently include co-ed hockey for first through 12th graders, a girls-only division, learn-to-skate and learn-to-play programs, and the Grand Rapids Sled Wings sled hockey team for children and teens with physical disabilities.