One of the greatest sports in the world is hockey, though the reasons for this go above and beyond the fast-paced, physical game played on the ice. Being part of a hockey team is a great way to build life-long friendships, foster self-confidence, create strong leadership traits and promote the importance of teamwork.

Youth hockey is the perfect way to introduce, enable and build these characteristics in children. The only downside to playing hockey is it is an expensive sport to play, regardless of what age you begin playing.

There is definitely more of a financial burden for families with children in youth hockey over someone beginning to play as an adult. Children are constantly growing, so they outgrow equipment sizes quickly. Not to mention there are many pieces of equipment that hockey players need to play, too. Registration and team fees are not cheap for youth hockey players either.

Furthermore, while hockey is for everyone, it is mostly a male-dominated sport, though progress has been made in recent years to grow girls youth hockey programs across North America.

It can be a struggle for young girls to find teams to play on, whether that is an all-girls team or an all-boys program that will accept a girl on the team because she can play. In some cases, that means the female youth hockey player and her family have to travel long distances so she can play with a specific team. The all-around cost for travel can also add up quickly.

Thankfully, two trailblazers for the women’s game are working hard to make funding available for girls youth hockey players and for girls youth hockey programs. These two are USA Hockey legends Cammi Granato and Brianna Decker.

Cammi Granato Girls Hockey Grant presented by FlipGive

Downers Grove, IL-native Cammi Granato is a hockey legend. She is the all-time leading scorer in the U.S. women’s program (343 points in 205 games played) and she captained the U.S. Women’s Olympic hockey team to its first ever gold medal in 1998. She was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010 and is currently working as a scout for the Seattle Kraken in the NHL.

She also created the Cammi Granato Girls Hockey Grant presented by FlipGive in 2020 to help girls in youth hockey afford the costs of playing hockey. The grant also assists girls youth hockey programs by helping them get access to new equipment sets so they can continue to grow the game.

To be eligible for the grant, a female hockey player (including female-identifying and non-binary players) must:

  • Be between the ages of 4 to 18 years old
  • Be living in the United States or Canada
  • Be registered in a minor hockey league organization
    • This includes leagues, camps, clinics, inline leagues, sledge hockey leagues and ringette leagues.
  • Complete and submit an application before the deadline.

It is free to apply for the grant. For the 2021-2022 season, the grant is accepting applications between October 3 and November 6; this application period will change annually though.

If a family has more than one eligible girls youth hockey player that wants to apply, that is perfectly fine. The family must submit an application for each player though. They cannot submit one application for all the players.

Recipients of the grant are selected by a grant committee made up of Granato and other employees of FlipGive. 42 players will be selected to receive grant funding. The player grant is worth $500 and will be issued as a credit on FlipGive.

To claim the funds, a player and her legal guardian will have to show proof of minor hockey registration and create a FlipGive account. The player and her family can then withdraw the $500 from FlipGive at no cost and at any time to use it to pay for hockey costs such as registration fees, equipment costs and more.

When a player applies for the grant, her hockey club is entered into a chance to win one of 42 equipment sets (valued at $300) to help the team make sure any young girl who wants a chance to play hockey can with the proper gear.

The equipment sets are generously provided by Pure Hockey and Bauer while the grant is supported by FlipGive, the Kraken, the Los Angeles Kings, the Dallas Stars, the Anaheim Ducks, Bauer and Pure Hockey.

Brianna Decker Endowment for Girls Hockey

Brianna Decker won a gold medal with the U.S. Women’s Olympic hockey team in 2018, the first gold medal for Team USA since Granato and the 1998 squad won it in Nagano. She also won a silver medal in 2014 with Team USA.

The Dousman, WI-native, who has been a key piece and leader on the U.S. Women’s team for over a decade, is a six-time IIHF Women’s World Championship gold medalist as well. She won the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) championship with the Calgary Inferno in 2018-2019 and the 2016 National Women’s Hockey League’s (NWHL) Isobel Cup with the Boston Pride.

Decker created the Brianna Decker Endowment for Girls Hockey grant via The USA Hockey Foundation in 2018 with the intent to provide funding to 8U and 10U female hockey programs within the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association.

In 2021, she and The USA Hockey Foundation opened up the annual grant to applicants across the United States instead of just Wisconsin.

To be eligible for the grant, the programs that apply must:

  • Be a USA Hockey-registered association
    • The award will not be presented to an individual; it goes to a program.
  • Complete and submit an application
    • The application includes a completed form, the association’s most recent IRS tax return and a brief essay about why the person applying feels their association is deserving of the grant and how the association will use the funds to grow hockey for girls.

The application must be submitted to The USA Hockey Foundation before the annual deadline of June 1.

The hockey associations that will be awarded with funds from the grant will be those whose primary focus is on increasing female youth hockey participation. The grant’s funding can be used to alleviate costs around ice time, equipment, advertising, marketing and overall program development.

The first grant that was handed out during the 2018-2019 season was for $2,500, but the total amount of the endowment fund has grown to be worth more than $100,000.

If you know a girls youth hockey player whose family is financially struggling to keep her in hockey or you know of a girls youth hockey program that could severely use funding assistance, do your civic duty to tell them about these impactful girls youth hockey grants so the game of hockey can continue to grow and prosper.