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    Hockey is seeing a resurgence among the youth of the United States and it is no longer limited to those who live in northern states where the climates are colder. With NHL teams in states like Florida, California, Texas and Tennessee, children all over the country are more aware of the sport. However, they may not be as aware of youth hockey opportunities nearby.

    Begun three year’s ago as part of the National Hockey League’s Come Play Hockey Month, in conjunction with its NHL member clubs, they and others helped support USA Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free as a way to help youth hockey associations introduce new kids to the sport. Those children who participated in the first event in 430 rinks clearly had a good time.

    According to USA Hockey, more than 10,000 kids got a chance to try hockey last year in the 454 rinks representing 47 states. This year through the official sponsors, Total Hockey and Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports, nearly 500 rinks in 48 states will offer free events this Saturday, November 2, 2013, to boys and girls ages four to nine.

    All necessary equipment will be provided for children attending and absolutely no experience is required to participate. Each location will have USA Hockey certified coaches instructing.

    “Youth hockey has seen tremendous growth in recent years by introducing new kids to the game,” said Pat Kelleher, assistant executive director of development for USA Hockey. “Thanks to the support of the NHL and the outstanding work of local volunteers, thousands of families will enjoy their first youth hockey experience during Try Hockey For Free events on Saturday.”

    For those interested in registering for the event, full details and local participating ice rinks can be found at TryHockeyForFree.com.

    A family historian by profession, Rhonda R. McClure has loved hockey since she was a child in New Hampshire. Any opportunity to combine her love of writing, hockey and research is something she looks forward to with much enthusiasm. She's been accused of seeking out shinny games when there are no other hockey events taking place. She is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research. Follow her on Twitter at @HockeyMaven1917.

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