Youth hockey players join forces at jamboree


Youth hockey players from Harlem and Ridgefield took part in a recent jamboree at the Winter Garden.

More than 200 kids, parents, siblings and coaches braved the cold inside and out at the inaugural Ridgefield Amateur Hockey Association (RAHA) and Ice Hockey In Harlem (IHIH) hockey jamboree at Ridgefield’s Winter Garden Ice Arena.

RAHA and IHIH players ages 9-14 played 11 games throughout the day, and participated in specialized goalie clinics as well. But instead of the two organizations playing against one another, they combined their programs and participated on mixed RAHA and IHIH teams.

“Today is all about sportsmanship, friendship and fun,” said RAHA coach Paul Hallahan, the organizer of the event. “We really wanted the kids to get to know one another and not make this all about competition — they get enough of that throughout the travel season.”

Said John Sanful, executive director of IHIH: “This is a very special day for our kids, parents and coaches. It is precisely the type of opportunity our organization strives to develop — it’s what our program is all about.”

The event helped support IHIH’s 26-year commitment to improving the social and academic well-being of children from the Harlem community through the educational and athletic opportunities provided by youth sports. RAHA and IHIH raised more than $1,000 through a bakesale on site and collected some lightly used hockey equipment for IHIH.

The event also benefited from the support of local organizations that either donated their services or products, including Top Shelf Hockey, Pro Crease Goaltending, the Lawley Westchester Group, ChillyBear silk screening and embroidery, the Winter Garden, the Brewster Ice Arena, the SONO Ice House and the Connecticut Oilers, Events Party & Rental, The Pizza Truck Company, and the Ridgefield High School boys hockey team.

“It was just really fun all day long,” said RAHA Squirt player William Stewart. “I met and played with a bunch of new players and coaches from teams we would never really see during the season. It was cool.”

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