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THE BIRTH OF ICE HOCKEY IN HARLEM

 

AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK, ICE HOCKEY IN HARLEM: 25 YEARS OF YOUTH HOCKEY



“’Ice Hockey in Harlem’ was an oxymoron when we began,” said Dave Wilk, the founder of Ice Hockey in Harlem. “Ice Hockey in Harlem started from an idea I had had much earlier when I was at business school,” Wilk began, tracing the genesis of the organization to its very beginnings. “I went to Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania back in the early ‘80s, and one of the essay questions was, ‘What if you had a year off and nothing to do?’ One part of my response was that I’d start a program for hockey in an inner-city environment. Fast forward seven or eight years later to 1987. I was working for the Seagram company as a finance manager. I had played college hockey at Rutgers and wanted to do something to help kids, so I got the idea to help kids play hockey. There was a group that Seagram supported called the Upward Fund, located on 119th Street. It was an after-school program. They had officers in the Seagram building, so I met with them. Gene Kitt was the executive director at that time. He was incredulous when I made the suggestion. I remember him saying, ‘Our people don’t play hockey.’ He agreed to give it a try, but he also had the idea to incorporate some sort of session where volunteers would talk to the kids, a sort of hockey class. We agreed it should be more than just kids going out and playing hockey. So I went into Harlem in September of 1987 and I met with some kids who were playing street hockey with Upward Fund. They were interested in playing on ice as well. That’s how I started to recruit the first group of kids. I scrounged equipment from CCM, and we got this program off the ground.”

 

Todd Levy was one of the first volunteers Ice Hockey in Harlem had, and 25 years later he’s going strong with IHIH as chairman of the board.

“I met Dave after the program had been running only a few weeks,” Levy began. “I was 19 and going to New York University doing a major in fine arts, looking to become a professional photographer. I was working part-time for New York Newsday, and they assigned me to take a photo of a guy who had just started this new organization in Harlem that involved hockey. That’s how I met Dave. The picture took about a minute to do, but I stayed and talked to him for two hours. I returned to Newsday and pitched them a full story, and they did the most beautiful two-page spread. It was unbelievable.”

“We started with 25 kids that very night,” Levy continued of Ice Hockey in Harlem’s first class.



TO PURCHASE A COPY, EMAIL US AT: INFO@ICEHOCKEYINHARLEM.ORG

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Our Team

STAFF

John Sanful, Executive Director

Brad Preston, Program Manager

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Nick Boulukos, BMO Capital Markets 
Jonathan Cohen, HSBC

Jason Crelinsten, Greylock Capital Mgmt. LLC

Todd Levy, Prosperian Wealth
J. Gregory Milmoe, Skadden Arps
Ken Ottenbreit, Stikeman Elliott
Marc Pinto, Janus Capital

Peter Reagan
Andrew Sexton, Wunderman
Marc Shore, Shore Assets
Craig Stanton, Bader Media Group
Ralph Susca, American Airlines

 

READ BOARD BIOS HERE

 

 

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS BOARD

Chelsea Hicks

Chris Becker

David Thomas

Derek Kennedy

James Faraci

Jani Holmborg

Jeremy Cobin

Jesse Faneuil

Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Palmer

Kristin Blundo

Monique Forrest

Rich Dosik

Vincent Tracy

Natalie Oshin

Tyler Morton

TJ Opladen

Ben Kornitzer

Shawn Neuren

On November 30, 2013, the Boston University men's hockey team visited Ice Hockey in Harlem at Lasker Rink. The team conducted an on ice practice followed by a motivational talk by BU alum and 1980 USA Olympic team captain Mike Eruzione.