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S.K.A.T.E. program aims to boost academics in New Richmond hockey

Getting hockey players to make a higher commitment to academics is the reason the S.K.A.T.E. program has been brought to the New Richmond Hockey Association.

S.K.A.T.E. was begun in Minnesota in 1997. Because several New Richmond youth hockey teams skate in Minnesota leagues, New Richmond was allowed to join Minnesota associations in installing this program.

According to their website, " S.K.A.T.E. is an academic recognition program designed to encourage youth hockey players to strive for excellence in the classroom. The program was originally developed by parent volunteers at a youth hockey organization in Minnesota to emphasize the importance of academic performance to young players. Focusing on the competitive nature of the young student-athletes, the program soon saw results with a significant increase in grade point averages among youth hockey players."

Bringing S.K.A.T.E. to New Richmond was the idea of Tiger boys varsity assistant coach Ryan Unger, who will oversee the program here. The program will be used to promote the importance of academics to anyone in the Tiger hockey program in grades K-12.

"It creates another positive culture, embracing the student-athlete," Unger said. He said that it's been proven that "the kids who achieve more in the classroom get more out of themselves in the playing field."

The S.K.A.T.E. program is used as an incentive program to recognize the academic success of the hockey players. At the end of the season, a party is being planned to recognize the hockey players from all grade levels who had a GPA of 3.0 or higher. More information can be found under the S.K.A.T.E. tab on the hockey association website (

"We coach to give them the best Tiger experience," Unger said. "Now the bigger picture is to focus on the student-athlete for their best success in their post-high school years."

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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