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How Minneapolis’ Dinomights is making hockey accessible to communities of color



Boasting several NCAA Division-1 Hockey teams, an NHL hockey franchise, the Minnesota Wild, and countless open skating rinks during the winter time, Minnesota has been a hockey state for a long time. Though the sport is amongst the most popular in the North Star state, there’s been mounting pressure in the NHL to make the sport more accessible to communities of color.


The league has done this by marketing its non-White stars such as P.K. Subban, inviting rap star Snoop Dogg broadcast LA Kings games, and launching hockey programs in urban neighborhoods across the country. 


In Minnesota, Dinomights, a Minneapolis-based hockey organization, have been breaking the racial barriers in hockey for over 20 years. Recently, they’ve partnered with the Minnesota Wild to continue these efforts throughout the Twin Cities. 


Founded by faith leader John Foley, with the mission of teaching hockey and developing future leaders in the inner city Minneapolis communities of Powderhorn, Phillips and Central, Dinomights has served roughly 4000 students and currently serves 300-500 kids annually since 1985.


Chris Haugen has been a coach with Dinomights since 2017. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in elementary education and a former hockey player, he was excited about the opportunity to share his love of the winter sport with youth.


“I was like why not. I’m not using my elementary degree. I’ve coached the squirts for a couple of years and the pewees for one year. The first year hooked me. Picking kids up, running practice, getting subway after and going back home. It’s a blast” Haugen said. 


For children who have likely never ice-skated, handled a hockey stick, or even seen a puck, teaching them how to play was a delicate balance.


“We do drills with a soccer ball, play tag, all sorts of drills that incorporate different games, but on the ice,” Haugen explained. “Just making it fun, keeping it upbeat. As a coach, I’m tired after the practices, so you have to bring that energy and the kids bring it too.”


In youth sports programs around the country, winning often takes precedence over player development and fun, but at Dinomights helping players become their best selves, on the ice and off it, comes before any game result.


“Don’t worry about the outcome, scoring a goal or winning the game, but worry about the process. At the beginning of the season, you couldn’t walk on ice, now you can skate forward and backwards,” Haugen often told his players. “It’s about the growth of the player. I think that first season was a bit of a challenge, we didn’t win till the tenth week…It’s about sticking through challenges and enjoying the hard work that the players do.”


Dinomights is more than a gateway to hockey


From elementary age kids to high schoolers, Dinomights invites youth from marginalized communities into their program. The kids are taught how to ice skate, shoot a hockey puck. With time they learn basic and advanced hockey strategies. 


Though the program prides itself in making hockey accessible to kids, who would otherwise not play the sport, they are more excited about helping them grow into smart, curious, responsible adults and perhaps great learners, and better leaders. 


“It is a hockey team, but it’s more than that. There’s tutoring, you can volunteer at an outdoor rink. There’s a mission of creating well rounded individuals, academically, spiritually, athletically, and as individuals,” Haugen said.


“As for academia, we do a week-long academic camp. Last year, our theme was public health, with speakers from different careers,” Scott Harman, current Executive Director of Dinomights added. “The common entry is at the end of first grade, but we have some that start earlier. We want students to stay in the program till high school graduation. We have tutoring at middle school and high school.”


At the high school level, there’s much less hockey activities for students at Dinomight beyond an annual alumni game. Though many students hang up their skates, they still participate in the academic program their organization offers.


“In high school it’s more academic and leadership over hockey,” Haugen said. “Our high school program is creating a culture of achievement and goal setting. Highschoolers have the option to apply for jobs at Dinomights and be junior youth workers.”


For Dinomights, hockey comes second to academics. Since 1985, 86 percent of the program’s participants have graduated on time. Through the years, they’ve been tracking student’s performance in the classroom, as well as the highest level of hockey each player played until they quit. 


Their findings reveal a shameful racial and accessibility trend. 


Making hockey accessible–There’s only one high school hockey team in Minneapolis 


Dinomights doesn’t have a recreation league for high schoolers, but they do offer academic programs for their older students. This means, however, that many of their players hang up their skates once they turn 14. 


“There’s a lot of kids who do want to go on and play, but there’s not many Minneapolis program schools, so that is another challenging piece,” Haugen said. “They go through all that progression, they get started, but after the Dinomights program, where can they go where they can play?”


“There’s one combined hockey team in Minneapolis, Washburn or Southwest and it’s a joint team. Any kid in the district can play for that team,” Harman added. 


As the current executive director, Harman spends time contemplating his and Dinomights’ role in advocating for diversity in hockey in Minnesota.


“Hockey isn’t alone in being only White kids who play. Nationwide that’s generally true. The other piece that is true, along with other youth sports, is that it trends towards elitism,” he said. “The costs are continuously going up, especially with Elite athlete development programs. You get motivated kids and families to continue putting resources in training and it’s hard to compete with people who can pay that cost, if you’re a family that can meet those costs.”


The cost of equipment–helmet, skates, padding–and team fees can cost a minimum of $1000 dollars, but for many teams, especially elite clubs that travel around the state and country the price can range anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000 depending on the program. For kids of color from the inner city, it can be a challenge to pay such a steep price to play a sport. 


For Harman, the solution to making hockey more diverse is not Black and White. He believes however that lowering the price of youth clubs could be a step in the right direction.


“A nonwhite person is not necessarily a low income person, sometimes we link those things, but they are not always the same. It’s not this level playing field,” he said. “There are communities strong in hockey, but who are changing and becoming lower income and they are figuring how to do hockey, but there’s pressure to compete with other associations. We are hoping to make an impact outside of our own walls.”


Dinomights is making partnerships with other youth hockey associations, helping them better serve communities of color, while continuing to support lower-income communities through the various programs they offer. They’ve also partnered with the Minnesota Wild to continue breaking racial barriers to playing hockey.  Still, the challenge is bigger than Dinomights and new initiatives are needed. 


“The answer isn’t simple. In the Twin Cities’ metro, in first ring suburbs that have transformed in makeup of demographics in the last 20 years, Hockey is declinding in those places. The people that bleed those associations want the best for their children, so they are looking for spots for their own children,” Harman explained.


“It’s not just about my children and where they play hockey, which is what most players think about. What team will they play on? How do we transform this entire community? I’m a high advocate of experimenting with different models: How do you invite people? Where’s the invitation?”


What Harman describes is the bigger challenge for youth hockey in Minnesota. There’s competition for top youth programs that many low-income minority kids can’t afford. As prices to play continue to soar, programs are not able to accommodate them, ultimately erasing them from the sport entirely. 


For over 20 years Dinomights has worked to challenge this racial divide, by creating youth hockey and education programs for kids, 6-18 years-old. They’ve helped thousands of Minneapolis’ students graduate from high school through their mentorship and tutoring programs, but they continue to face an uphill battle in dismantling the systemic barrier preventing these same kids from playing hockey in high school and beyond.


To fellow hockey clubs and associations looking to do better, Scott Harman has some advice, “Groups that want to grow the diversity of their association, you have to look at who are you serving and how are you meeting the true needs of the community you are serving.” 


Learn more here about MN Wild Foundation and how they continue to support Youth Hockey programming which include tutoring, mentorship and spiritual development Wild Foundation announces $166,000 in grants to community partners (


About Dinomights- Dinomights provides a powerful combination of traditional enrichment through revcreation and intentional strategies that respond to children’s unique developmental and academic needs. Please visit to learn more.


By Vida y Deportes, Contributing Writer, Jeffrey Bissot-Mattis


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Los Senadores sucumben ante la ley del Wild



Kirill Kaprizov anotó su primer gol de la temporada 2:02 en tiempo extra y los Minnesota Wild vencieron a los Ottawa Senators 5-4 el martes por la noche.

Marcus Foligno anotó dos veces para Minnesota, que obtuvo puntos de 11 jugadores y ganó por sexta vez, todos por un gol. Caleb Addison y Nico Sturm también anotaron. Cam Talbot tuvo 24 salvamentos para Wild, ganadores de nueve seguidos contra los Senadores.

Diez jugadores tenían puntos para Ottawa. Drake Batherson tenía un gol y una asistencia. Nick Paul, Josh Norris y Chris Tierney sumaron goles. Michael Del Zotto tuvo dos asistencias. Filip Gustavsson superó un comienzo inestable e hizo 38 salvamentos, incluidos 20 en el tercer período.

Kaprizov anotó 27 goles en 55 partidos la temporada pasada. Empató un récord de temporada con seis tiros a puerta.

Con una desventaja de 3-1, Ottawa anotó tres veces en menos de seis minutos del segundo período para tomar una ventaja de corta duración.

Batherson enterró un tiro desde el círculo derecho, una jugada que Minnesota desafió sin éxito por un palo alto al principio del turno, y Norris anotó desde el borde de la pintura azul en la siguiente jugada de poder para poner el 3-3.

Foligno convirtió un pase de Matt Dumba para empatar el juego 4-4 poco más de dos minutos después.

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Colorado le tira una avalancha al Wild y los vence fácilmente



Gabriel Landeskog anotó dos goles y dos asistencias y preparó el gol de la ventaja de Colorado para la anotación del defensa Erik Johnson y de esta manera el Colorado Avalanche venció al Minnesota Wild 4-1 el sábado por la noche.

Nazem Kadri también anotó y Nathan MacKinnon tuvo un par de asistencias. Darcy Kuemper terminó con 29 salvamentos.

El segundo gol de Landeskog llegó en el minuto 17:48 del tercer período, que entró en el poste con un disparo desde cerca de la línea roja.

Ryan Hartman anotó su cuarto gol de la temporada para los Wild. Cam Talbot tuvo 27 salvamentos.

Fue la segunda derrota consecutiva como visitantes para el Wild después de comenzar 3-0 fuera de casa.

Brandon Duhaime estaba en el área con una penalización por mala conducta en el juego después de pelear con MacKinnon cuando el tiro de Kadri encontró en la red para un gol en jugada de poder que extendió la ventaja de Colorado a dos goles a los 2:54 del tercer período.

Minnesota había igualado el marcador 1-1 con la jugada de poder de Hartman a los 16:54 del segundo período, antes de que el Avalanche recuperara la ventaja 40 segundos después. MacKinnon agarró el disco a lo largo de las tablas en un pase de Landeskog antes de devolvérselo entre los círculos a Johnson, cuyo tiro venció a Talbot.

Landeskog abrió el marcador a los 13:03 del primer período. Andre Burakovsky lanzó un pase cruzado a Landeskog, quien levantó el disco sobre el vencido Talbot.





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El Wild le quita la ilusión a los aficionados de los Canucks, los derrotan 3-2



Matt Dumba anotó su primer gol de la temporada a la mitad del tercer período, lo que llevó a los Minnesota Wild a una victoria por 3-2 sobre Vancouver el martes por la noche, arruinando el primer partido de los Canucks en casa.

Mats Zuccarello y Jonas Brodin también anotaron para los Wild. Cam Talbot hizo 22 salvamentos para Minnesota, que se recuperó después de una derrota ante Nashville el domingo.

Alex Chiasson anotó en una jugada de poder, y Bo Horvat agregó un gol para los Canucks, quienes vieron detenida su racha de dos victorias consecutivas. Thatcher Demko detuvo 27 tiros para Vancouver.

El primer partido en casa de Vancouver fue el primer juego a plena capacidad en el Rogers Arena en 595 días.

La última vez que los Canucks jugaron antes de un lleno fue en una victoria por 5-4 sobre los New York Islanders el 10 de marzo de 2020, dos días antes de que la NHL se pusiera en pausa debido al COVID-19. El equipo jugó sin aficionados en las gradas durante la temporada corta del año pasado.

Talbot hizo una gran parada ante Brock Boeser de Vancouver en el primer período para mantener el juego 1-0.

El gol de Dumba se produjo después de que Brock Boeser, de Vancouver, hiciera un disparo fuerte que pasó por encima de la red de Minnesota y rodeó los tableros. El Wild movió el disco por el hielo y Dumba anotó con un pase de Rem Pitlick.

Una pérdida del disco de Canucks le dio a Minnesota una ventaja de 2-0 a los 2:27 del segundo período. El defensa de Vancouver, Jack Rathbone, tosió el disco en su propia línea azul. Brodin disparó un tiro que Demko detuvo, pero luego anotó el primero de la temporada en el rebote.


Vancouver recortó la ventaja a 2-1 en una jugada de poder. Con Nick Bjugstad fuera por interferencia y Marcus Foligno jugando sin un palo, los Canucks controlaron el disco en el extremo.

Minnesota estuvo cerca antes de que terminara el período cuando Pitlick se escapó después de salir del área de penalización. Pero su disparo dio en el poste.

El Wild abrió el marcador en el minuto 7:41 del primero periodo. Zuccarello se colocó detrás de los defensas de Canucks Tucker Poolman y Quinn Hughes, recibió un pase largo de Joel Eriksson Ek y superó a Demko para su tercer gol de la temporada.

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