Briggs-Blake also started advocating aggressively at different levels of government the need for a new rink on Tucker Road.
After countless hours dedicated to making a push for a rink, Briggs-Blake’s dream came to fruition.
“I believe just the ice rink is absolutely beautiful and just the fact that that brand new visually stimulating ice rink is there and now that they’re beginning to build the programs, I think it sets the stage for success,” said LaDonna Tucker, whose son skates for the Ducks. “It’s drawing to the community because it’s appealing with what they have to offer.”
A great opportunity
The TRPHO has made so much impact on families in the Prince George’s County area.
That impact hit Tucker first hand. She was looking at getting her 6-year-old son, Charles, involved in hockey in 2018. She noticed a sign outside while passing through Prince George’s County and got in touch with TRPHO.
“We brought Charles in, put him on some skates and they were so welcoming,” Tucker said. “Their sons were a lot older, so Charles at the time was the youngest with the team. He had never skated before; he could not skate. We joined the team and they had a coach as well as an ice skating instructor and within two or three months, he started skating. We just came on board at a good time because the parent org had partnered with the Capitals and the NHL diversity and inclusivity team, so our first experience at a hockey game, we got to go to the game with the team and he was able to meet like six of the key players on the Capitals in the locker room. It was wonderful.
“We had a very good experience introducing him to ice hockey and it’s all he wants to do. The bug has bitten him.”
The opportunity for Charles — who is now in his fourth season in the program — to get on the ice changed his life and has provided him with numerous friendships.
“I will say that just having the ability to build the skills with other teammates and just knowing how to work together, collaboration, just feeling that support and kind of brotherhood and that bond within his team, I believe it has been impactful,” Charles’ mom said.
The Ducks program is designed for boys and girls ages 4-18. Right now, there is only one girl. Briggs-Blake is striving to change that.
Since the new rink didn’t open until the end of August, the organization got a late start on registering players this season.
It is making a major push for the 2022-23 season to get more families involved. Right now, it only has enough players for two recreational teams. Adding travel teams is a big goal for the future as well.
“We are moving full steam ahead,” Briggs-Blake said. “It’s going to be an exciting ride. Our vision is to really grow and by the 2022 season is to have at least three structured teams in place.”
The goal next year is to have 75-100 skaters in the program.
“We’ll get there,” Briggs-Blake said.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.