Skatesgiving fundraiser goes virtual to help keep Mites hockey free for first-timers |

Skatesgiving fundraiser goes virtual to help keep Mites hockey free for first-timers

Summit Youth Hockey players in the Mites program will once again be able to skate for free this year if they are in their first year with the club.
Photo from Summit Youth Hockey

What began a few years back as a way for Breckenridge local Todd Rankin to burn some calories after a couple of slices of pie on Thanksgiving has turned into a fundraiser financing hockey for many local youths.

In recent years, Rankin has hosted a Skatesgiving event at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge. At first, the event was just a casual pickup hockey game for Rankin and friends. But now, the spirit of giving back helps the Summit Youth Hockey club.

This year has been a trying one financially for the club as it had to postpone, and eventually cancel, the Summit Hockey Classic — the club’s largest annual fundraiser. But the club has trudged on, providing hockey programming to local kids while meeting COVID-19 protocols.

That includes another round of the Mites program for skaters 8 and younger. It’s been a focal point of Summit Youth Hockey to make the Mites program free for first-year skaters. Thanks to Rankin, it will be free once again this winter.

For this year’s virtual Skatesgiving fundraiser, Rankin has set up an online donation website and worked with traditional sponsors to raise more than $30,000 for Summit Youth Hockey.

Continuing the fundraiser in a virtual format meant so much to Rankin and his family, he said, because he feels it’s important to keep children active and engaged socially, especially during the pandemic.

“The rink is a great place for kids to learn leadership and teamwork — and for adults to learn those things,” Rankin said. “The goal there is to make sure that, no matter what your income, you can get to the rink and try this.”

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