NHL gift benefits hockey rink at Detroit's Clark Park

Dec 16, 2013

Clark Park hockey players prepare to for a clinic with the Detroit Red Wings.
Clark Park hockey players prepare to for a clinic with the Detroit Red Wings.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Red Wings’ charity and the National Hockey League have teamed up to refurbish Detroit’s only outdoor hockey rink.

The gift, which benefits southwest Detroit’s Clark Park, was announced there Monday. The facility will get a new Zamboni, new lighting and other upgrades worth about $200,000.

That’s when a few Clark Park hockey players got a rare chance to skate and shoot the puck during a mini-clinic with several Red Wings on their home ice.

Steve Tobocman, President of the Clark Park Coalition, said the park and its recreation center are a safe haven for the community’s children throughout the year--and this donation is especially welcome at a time when the bankrupt city can’t invest much in neighborhood services.

“To be able to able to sustain youth hockey here in Hockeytown, [at] the only outdoor hockey rink in all of Metro Detroit, is really just an incredible donation,” Tobocman said.

The park is also part of the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative to boost the sport in diverse communities. Thanks to that program, the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, and some corporate partners, the Clark Park skaters will get to play on a better rink with more amenities all winter.

“For the Zamboni to be here…the lights, the boards, [they] make the facility much better,” said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. “I know we can come back, which is really, really important to us, but it’s [also] great for the community.”

The gift is also a part of the NHL Winter Classic legacy initiative. That’s an ongoing philanthropic effort where the league supports a community organization in the host city of an NHL legacy event. 

This season’s Winter Classic will feature the Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day, 2014.