Desert Hockey Development (DHD) is a community outreach non-profit organization founded in 2013. We are dedicated to building kids through youth hockey in Arizona and, eventually, the rest of the Southwest US.
The significant initial equipment investment hockey requires isn’t something to be taken lightly just to “see if my kid likes hockey”. We offer opportunities to children and their parents to give what we consider the best sport in the world a try without sacrificing monetarily. For example, we provide a light meal after our free hockey clinics.
Our group was founded by a group of people who came together and worked at the grassroots level to ensure the future of the Coyotes in Glendale. While working on those projects, we saw opportunities to continue working in the community to help satisfy a need for youth outreach through recreation. Glendale has an inline skating facility in one of their parks that is underutilized and within a Glendale district that remains in desperate need of more free youth activities.
We worked with Glendale for over two years to help them improve their facility and increase it’s utilization without adding more stress to the already stretched city budget.
We’re now trying to spread out with similar activities in the Tucson area. With an AHL hockey team resident in the Tucson Convention Center, the time is right for enthusiasm to build around that city, affording us the opportunity to recruit volunteers and plenty of kids that will benefit from our free programs.
The sport of hockey builds teamwork and accountability. We emphasize the character of sports as much as the technical skills, we emphasize that sportsmanship is more than just a word. We stress respect as a core component of being a well rounded player and person.
One of our coaches said the following in a recent unrelated email. It bears repeating because it exemplifies what we’re trying to do and how we want to do it:
“Don’t get me wrong, they have to work hard to improve but it’s about teaching fun. It really doesn’t matter about winning or losing, it’s about having fun and improving as team and each as individuals.
Those ideas have always worked and the kids all continue you to play and that’s what matters.”
We hope to build the base of hockey people around us and do our small part to increase their fitness level and understanding of what sportsmanship means at the same time.