Devan Abercrombie of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in Washington, D.C., and Nicholas McCurdy of the Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) program founded in Vancouver, Canada, have each been awarded the 2014 NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund academic scholarship to attend any college or university in the U.S. or Canada this Fall. This four-year academic scholarship originates from a partnership between the NHL and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which has been awarding scholarships to participants involved in Hockey is for Everyone™ programs since 2012.
The NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative is the League’s official youth development program that provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth organizations across North America – including the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and the HEROS program – committed to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey. Since its launch in 1998, Hockey Is For Everyone has provided support to more than 45,000 boys and girls.
“The National Hockey League is extremely proud to participate in two initiatives that encourage education on and off the ice,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “We believe that hockey can serve as a vehicle for teaching life skills and life lessons that foster the growth and development of young people. Hockey is for Everyone welcomes boys and girls to our sport while our scholarship program, in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, offers academic opportunities to outstanding student athletes across North America – underscoring our commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion as well as the achievement of scholastic and athletic excellence.”
“The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is grateful for the NHL’s long-term commitment to this scholarship program, which continues to help high school seniors reach beyond their dreams to obtain a higher education,” said TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.
Since 2012, funds for the NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholarships, under the direction of Commissioner Bettman who serves on its board of directors, have been raised through the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge, a charity game pitting congressional staff from across the political spectrum against lobbyists representing a broad array of interests. Since 2009, the Congressional Hockey Challenge has raised money in a commitment to the advancement of ice hockey, ensuring the game is accessible to anyone who wants to play.
“It is a highlight each year to watch the resources raised through the Congressional Hockey Challenge support life-changing educational opportunities for the young hockey players chosen,” said Congressman Pat Meehan (R-PA-7), Co-Chair of the Congressional Hockey Caucus and Congressional Hockey Challenge participant. “On ice or in the classroom, goals make champions.”
Abercrombie, 17, is a forward and defenseman with the Fort Dupont Cannons located in the District’s southeast. He plans to attend Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, majoring in Sports Marketing. McCurdy, 17, is a goaltender in the HEROS program’s Calgary chapter which launched in 2006, and is based in the city’s Forest Lawn area. He plans to attend the University of Calgary in Alberta, majoring in Kinesiology.
In addition to the League’s efforts, Abercrombie and McCurdy’s neighboring NHL Clubs, the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames respectively, are making a contribution. Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, the umbrella charity for the Washington Capitals, is donating additional funding to the NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholarship. The Flames Foundation for Life, the charitable arm of the Calgary Flames, is funding a new multi-year program for HEROS Calgary to help them broaden their positive impact to more youth.