U.S. Steel donates funds for neck protection for youth hockey players across the Range
650 hockey players from across the Range will have new neck protection, thanks to U.S. Steel.
The company donated funds to purchase gear, after the death of Adam Johnson.
Johnson was a Hibbing native who died when a skate cut his neck during a game in England.
After that tragedy, U.S. Steel employees started talking about what they could do, to help protect their players.
Kent Swanson, Manager of Safety and Industrial Hygiene, has kids who play for Hibbing. “My boss and I were talking, and we thought it would be really nice if U.S. Steel could do something nice to help the kids across the Range.”
The idea went to Chrissy Bartovich, who is a community outreach leader with the company. They applied for the funds, and got enough to outfit 650 players from three hockey associations: Rock Ridge, Hibbing, and Mesabi East.
“For me, just knowing we can help people who maybe wanted it for their kids, but they are feeling the crunch of Christmas, or whatever the case may be why they couldn’t swing it financially. Now they don’t have to worry about it,” Bartovich told us.
The associations can pick what type of gear to buy. The full shirts have been popular, according to Swanson.
Hibbing hockey coach and Mayor Pete Hyduke said, “There’s a great hockey community up here. It’s amazing to see. And it’s one way that Adam Johnson leaves a legacy for his area, and community, and so many kids will benefit.”
U.S. Steel owns Minntac and Keetac, and many employees have children who play hockey.