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Fore for Four

Snider Hockey to complete fourth rink rehab and look forward to upcoming golf tournament

Monday, 08.27.2012 / 3:33 PM / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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Fore for Four
Snider Hockey is set to complete its fourth rink rehab and is looking forward to its upcoming golf tournament.

When the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation began six years ago, it partnered with the School District of Philadelphia to provide a program teaching elementary and middle school boys and girls to play hockey.

As a result, the Foundation was able to host 15 schools and approximately 450 students at three rinks throughout the city.

It was a successful and ambitious beginning for a community outreach program. Fast forward to today and Snider Hockey has become a non-profit locomotive.

More than 3,000 kids are part of the program, including residents of Camden, N.J. The foundation has completely refurbished three dilapidated, inner city ice rinks, and will complete the renovation of a fourth – the Tarken Ice Rink in the Oxford Circle section of the city, by the end of October.

More than a dozen graduates of the program have gone on to play collegiate hockey.

And the program is growing.

“Our kids have really been closing the gap on suburban programs because of our rink projects,” said Scott Tharp, president of Snider Hockey. “We can provide them with prime ice time seven days a week, but it’s not just the on-ice program that has ben a success.

“It would be a mistake to think we are just an athletic program. All of the kids that join our program also have to buy into our supplemental educational services and our life skills program. Kids come to us immediately after school and get homework help and tutoring as needed.”

That means hockey is the reward for working hard in school everyday.

It’s a very simple plan, but it works. Kids in the Snider Hockey program matriculate from one grade level to the next at a 96 percent success rate.

“The epidemic dropout rate that is reported by the school district of Philadelphia – we are doubling that success,” Tharp said. “Nearly 50 percent of the kids in the Philadelphia school district are not graduating on time, but ours are.”

Snider Hockey is able to boast about their programs because of significant fundraising efforts – like it’s annual golf outing – which this year is being played at Trump National Golf Club in Pine Hill, N.J. on Sept. 11.

Claude Giroux participated in the 2011 gold tournament.

Many members of the Flyers team, coaching staff and management will participate in the charity event, with a shotgun start following a late morning brunch as well as a dinner and auction in the evening.

ESYHF board members Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen will all be there, as will coach Peter Laviolette and many more Flyers players, staff and alumni.

In just its third year, the charity golf outing has raised considerable money.

In 2011, the outing netted $500,000. Ed Snider himself generously matched that amount, raising $1 million for the foundation in just it’s second season.

“We always have a great commitment from so many people from Mr. Snider on down,” Tharp said. “It’s through their efforts that we are able to continue to do what we do.”

Of course, having a sensational collection of high-end auction items helps fund those efforts, and this year is no different.

There are 25 unique items up for bid, many of which are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Imagine taking 10 of your friends to a Flyers game – on the road – and travelling there on Ed Snider’s personal jet.

Or how about an overnight stay in a visiting city where you and a companion travel with the team – on the team charter flight – and stay in the team hotel.

But if you want to stay closer to home, you could go to a wine-tasting party at the home of Peter and Kristen Laviolette

Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette skates with kids on the ice at the Wells Fargo Center.

where Hartnell, Briere and Claude Giroux will also attend.

And maybe you’d just like to have a party for 50 people – at the Wells Fargo Center – where you get to skate on the ice with members of the team, and then have dinner together afterward in the Lexus Club with private photo and autograph opportunities (Last year’s participants were Hartnell, Timonen, Briere, Laviolette and Wayne Simmonds).

You can bid on these items or more by clicking here.

Your donation will help to further the efforts of Snider Hockey and help them reach their next tier of goals.

And who knows where they will stop.

“We would love to produce an NHL player out of our program one day,” Tharp said.

Considering their blistering progress, is there any reason to doubt the legitimacy of that possibility?

To contact Anthony SanFilippo email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on twitter @AnthonySan37

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