The Hockey Volunteer

Thank you for your support of "The Hockey Volunteer"TM. This initiative has now become THE HOCKEY FOUNDATION. Please visit and support "sharing happiness & changing lives, one puck at a time."

This blog can also been found on that site.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why hockey is the greatest sport with the greatest athletes...

So you doubted me when I said that hockey has the classiest athletes...

Blackhawks Big Winners on Special Road Trip

This is a story about the Chicago Blackhawks players foregoing an extra day with their families around Thanksgiving after a long road-trip, and taking 2 coach buses 110 miles north into rural Ontario to support their mourning GM, who's father passed away.

On the way back, they stopped into a local McDonald's, like my high school football team did on a return bus home from the North Fork of Long Island way back when, and signed autographs for the kids coincidentally trading cards of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane - while enjoying their Big Macs.

When I mentioned in my earlier post (Who am I and why do I love hockey?) that hockey has the highest level of sportsmanship, this is what I meant (it's mentioned in the Chicago Tribune article as well, in addition to the plethora of blogs/articles covering this act of kindness)!

These guys understand the value of loyalty and respect, and what it means to do the right thing.  They sacrificed their own pleasure and relaxation to support their boss.  It's a lesson we should all take to heart, because on top of loyalty, respect and sacrifice, it teaches selflessness and shows maturity.

I say this with no exaggeration:  I have become a Blackhawks fan because of this.

I hope this is as inspiring for you as it is for me.  

I hope what we are trying to achieve with this volunteer program together is also inspiring.  Every child should learn these type of lessons in life - and hockey consistently proves to be a great medium to communicate just those values.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So do two more pictures equal 2000 words?

Another photo of the me with the kids from Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province, China when we hosted them in New York.

This is where I am looking to travel to, with your support.

So you say an image is worth 1000 words?

This image is from January 2007, when Angela Ruggiero and I were in Heilongjiang Province, China through the New York Islanders initiative Charles B. Wang Ice Hockey Project Hope (  Just 2 weeks prior, Angela and I hosted these kids in New York for an international youth hockey tournament, and when we returned to Qiqihar, this was our reception.  

This picture says it all.

This is the impact I want to make around the world with hockey.  This picture is a constant reminder for me of WHY this is what I am meant to do.

If you look in the background, the rink is barebone.  The ice was terrible, there was no netting in the goals, and there was no glass around the paper-thin boards (which had a gaping hole filled in with snow at one spot) - but we had an incredible time with the kids!

When I got to see some of these kids again the following year for the Lighthouse Tournament, they had improved leaps and bounds.  I specifcially asked if they remembered our visit the previous year and the drills we showed them.  The kids told me they practiced those drills every day!  These kids have all the potential in the world to become the best hockey players in China from one 45-minute session.  Imagine that!

Please help me provide a lasting impact on children in Ladakh.

Realistic Idealist*

I just returned from Green Drinks NYC Island to Island Holiday Party (, where I met a handful of people as idealistic and enthusiastic as I am about my trip to India. It's very difficult to remain motivated through your idealism and passion when others can't understand, or flat-out insult, what you are trying to do (pessimism is one of the worst traits in people).  Fortunately, when you meet peoplewith deep, vibrant enthusiasm and optimism - if not idealism - it's a blessing.  Those are the people I am trying to call to action to support my cause!  


The praise and energy I received from people today will continue to motivate me through this journey, but I need your help.  Please donate...I am looking to depart in less than 2 weeks!

Shout-outs to supporters that are putting positive energy into the Universe:
  • C.C. Chapman - Managing Partner of The Advance Guard - Blogger, Podcaster & all-around great guy (, - for giving some pointers and showing general support, and indirectly being responsible for this journey thanks to his podcast Managing the Gray (check it out on iTunes)!
  • @Dani3boyz for spreading the word
  • @Goaliegirl for being the first donor
  • Sammy - former schoolmate & teammate on the Red Dogs (college roller hockey team) for donating
  • Eric - also former schoolmate & teammate on the Red Dogs (college roller hockey team) for donating
  • Angela Ruggiero (mentioned many times on this blog) - she got me hired straight out of my internship with the Islanders specifically to work with her on Project Hope, and we remain close ever since.  That is something I will be eternally greatful for, and I am proud to call her my friend.  Get ready for Angela Ruggiero hockey camps!
  • Julie - one of my best friends in the world who has endured every stupid act and idea of mine, but still continues to support, for donating and being a loyal friend in so many ways!
  • Chris Lucas (@Hockeyskates) - for his awesome blogging support:
  • The folks I met today at Green Drinks were amazing, and I am incredibly appreciative that I had the honor of meeting and speaking with you.  There are a few in particular that really stood out, and in due time will get their shout-outs!
  • My Mother, for her understanding of the reasons why I need to do this.
"Realistic Idealist" is a phrase I have been using for some time now.  John McCain used it in a speech during his campaign.  Without getting into politics (although my political affiliation is probably apparent through my idealism, I did not start using it after him, and only realized he used it when I did a Google search on the phrase.  What I'm saying is: John McCain copied me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My involvement in China through Project Hope

If you are interested in learning about my background with youth hockey development, in particular internationally, I would like to refer to you to Charles B. Wang Ice Hockey Project Hope ( I had the distinct pleasure of going to China with Angela Ruggiero (, 3-time Olympian for Team USA in hockey, former Apprentice (season 6) contestant, and all around amazing person. Together we visited the schools in Heilongjiang Province that we were providing hockey resources to. Here is our recap from the Project Hope website. Be sure to visit & browse around to get a clear understanding of how much hockey can improve a kids life! I hope after seeing some pictures and reading the messages from the kids, you will be interested in donating to my cause for kids in Ladakh to have a similar experience!

Project Hope Journal 1/22/07
By Angela and Adam

We're back from China, and after almost two weeks, what we miss the most is the hospitality. Everywhere we went (all 8 schools), we were greeted with open arms, by local and school officials, and many students that were supposed to be on winter break (but came back just to see us and spend some time on the ice). The outdoor rinks have become a center to the respective communities, and the kids in our Project Hope schools, (elementary school age) skate over 5 days a week! Their smiles on the ice made it easy to ignore that it was as cold and windy as the Great Lakes region. We took them through some basic skating and puck handling drills, and then we got into the fun, reminding everyone (including the adults standing around the rinks) that hockey, above all else, is fun.

Other than skating with the Project Hope students, we also had the opportunity to scout our prospective scholarship candidates in Harbin and Qiqihar. Twenty (about ten in each city) of the best teenage boys and girls skated their hearts out for over an hour, in an intense tryout. Not only were their hockey skills put to the test (and a fair amount of stamina testing to go along with it), but an interview was conducted in English to determine whether they were ready to study at a school for a full academic year. While their hockey skills were impressive, it was clear that everyone needed more work on English. Before anyone spends a full year in America, we'll bring over a few students for the summer in an intensive ESL program, allowing them to experience the United States first hand. The opportunity to play hockey will also be important, and the students will be able to put many hours of hard work on the ice, after they do so on paper.

In our meetings with local officials, it became clear how important Project Hope has become to the lives of so many people. In some cases, over 100 students get the opportunity to learn hockey at their school. Hockey has become a class worth academic credit, and in the best of scenarios, Project Hope hockey players have been given a clear path to success. In Qiqihar, a memo was issued on behalf of the Sports and Education Bureaus, mandating that a specific system be implemented to assist these scholar athletes any way possible. We hope that the civic governments in each area, along with the Project Hope schools, can follow suit, allowing more students the opportunity to play hockey, study English five days a week, and continue to receive the funding and support of their local governments.

Whether it was the center city of Harbin, Jiamusi and Qiqihar, or a surrounding town, each community had a unique culture. The sense of family and community dominates the social character and culture, and the group lunches and dinners gave us the opportunity to become members of the community. We spent a lot of time getting to know everyone personally (through a translator, of course), and found that while our cultures are as different as can be, there are some things that we all share in common. First, and most obvious, we're all human. Sometimes, we forget what that means, but it's important. Whether you live on Long Island or in Heilongjiang, everybody wishes to be happy and successful (culturally subjective), have a long life, and wish the same for our children. Going beyond that, we all love hockey. One of the many goals of Project Hope is to cross borders using hockey as the international language. It is a sport unlike anything in the world, requiring a whole new sense of transportation just to be able to communicate. As hockey history has proven, any team can be superior once the puck drops, as long as there is a balance of talent, discipline, structure, creativity and fun. This understanding of hockey is universal, and if it ever becomes less, it will no longer be hockey.

The success lies, though, on everyone involved in Project Hope. We will continue to build rinks and provide as much equipment as possible, but at the same time, we're requesting that anyone willing to help makes a donation or other contributions in support. There is information on the web page specifying how YOU can help.

Stay tuned for more news on Project Hope. We have an exciting future and many more plans. The next invitational is scheduled for January 17-18, 2008. ANY teams interested should fill out our form. Maybe we'll even sponsor a team to compete in China. Start working on your Chinese.

That post was from 2007, after we returned from China.  Many of the things we wrote about in that letter is exactly what I wrote in my blog here, and once again, I need your support.  If you can, please donate.

Reduction in costs of the trip

With the influx of help, I have been referred to some cheaper Indian travel websites, and can now look forward to round trip international airfare (JFK to Delhi) costing no more than $2000 (if booked soon!).  Travel from Delhi to Leh (in Ladakh) would be around $100.  Living expenses of $500-600 if I stay 30+ days.

That means right now, $2500 would be the bare minimum I can go over with, and anything additional would be contributed towards helping SECMOL!

If you can spare any amount, please donate here:

Where to start? India...for now...

The first place I am looking to teach hockey in is Ladakh, a region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (Yes, that Kashmir!) in the Himalayas, through an organization called SECMOL (Students' Eductional and Cultural Movement of Ladakh).

From the SECMOL website ( 

"The Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) was founded in 1988 by a group of young Ladakhis with the aim to reform the educational system of Ladakh. Today our activities are extremely varied and numerous. We organize activities for Ladakhi youth, run a campus for students going to school or college in Leh, develop solar energy projects and much more.

Ladakh, the eastern part of Jammu and Kashmir state of India, is a high-altitude desert region, on the upper reaches of the Indus River. Until recently a somewhat isolated rural society, Ladakh has seen enormous and sudden changes since the 1960s, when the Indian government started having an impact on local life through defence activities (Ladakh shares borders with both China and Pakistan) and development activities such as schools, offices, and subsidies. The region opened to foreign tourism in 1974, and is a popular destination for trekkers as well as travellers visiting ancient Buddhist monasteries, and since 2000 domestic tourists have been coming too. It is also home to a large Tibetan community.

Ice hockey is hugely popular in Ladakh, but most kids from rural families do not get the chance to play, due to lack of skates and equipment. However, at SECMOL several dozen young people from rural villages have had the chance to skate and play ice hockey, thanks to equipment donated to SECMOL by friends around the world."

What does this means to me...

In so many ways, this IS the calling I was waiting for...As I have grown and matured, and dug deep into what is meaningful in my life, a few things became clear, hockey is a sport I can't live without (I had to start with that, since this is all about hockey), we have a planet in peril that we need to protect and conserve, and there is nothing more precious than our lives and the lives of others - and Buddhism is all about working through our suffering and attaining a life of enlightenment, and by extension, peace and love.

Being able to volunteer in the Himalayas, one of the most exotic places in the world, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir - which is religiously and politically divided - in a historically Buddhist community, around people that love hockey and utilize renewable energy, feel almost too good to be true.  


Travel will cost at least $2,500-4,000 and my living expenses will be no more than $20 day (which includes housing) that will equal $600 (I plan to stay for a month!).  So I am looking for $4,000 to cover this, and anything leftover will go to additional donations/support for SECMOL.

With your generosity, I want to provide more hockey resources to these people, equipment, nets, mini-zamboni (ice resurfacer), and warm clothing.  Any contributions will be used towards these ends, and if you want to purchase and donate them to the cause, please do not hesitate to do so!

The Winter season in Ladakh ends by February, so I am looking to depart as soon as enough money has been raised, before mid-January.  Please help me provide these kids with hockey and donate now...ANYTHING you can donate would be great!:

Mission Statement

So as I mentioned in my previous post, there was an innate sense of emptiness in what I was doing, even though it was through hockey. So now is the time to explain my calling...


And so, here is my Mission Statement:
As a deep believer in the good of man, and the power of sport, I vow to have fun and teach the basic values of hockey to kids around the world. I will keep a diligent log and journal - written, and sometimes video/photo - to share with others how unique, special, and amazing my immersion into different cultures and adventures into new habitats are. With the support of generous people and corporations, I will improve the lives of underprivileged children for as long as possible, and to the greatest reaches of my ability - but never alone.

Adam Sherlip
The Hockey Volunteer

Who am I and why do I love hockey?

After a 2-year career working in marketing and youth hockey development (international and local) for a professional hockey team, I was in a crisis.  No matter the department, the ultimate goal of working towards selling tickets was unfulfilling and at times incredibly disappointing.  The lingering feeling that I needed to do something more through the sport I love and make a true  difference in peoples' lives was something I couldn't ignore.

At it's core, hockey is the most sportsmanlike game in the world.  "Adam, what about the fighting and the checking?!", you say?  Checking allows players to knock another player off the puck to gain control, as well as intimidate your opponents with your physical prowess, a trait that is as ingrained in mammalian behavior as reproduction.  Fighting, outside of the sheer enjoyment or disgust one may have, is a way to keep honor and accountability to a game that sometimes can get emotional.  If a player is upset because his team is losing, his emotions can lead him to go after the best player on the ice.  It happens in sports without regulated fighting all the time.  The difference is that a player who acts out on those impulses in hockey has to face a tough-guy on the opposing team who is sticking up for his teammate...honor and accountability!

Hockey is also the pure team sport.  You can make countless examples for other sports, but at the end of the day, hockey requires a team to win.  Gretzky and Crosby both had/have more assists than goals every season because if all they did was shoot, 5 guys could get in their way.  A goalie can't stop every shot if nobody is defending in front, and a defenseman couldn't clear the puck out of the zone if nobody was supporting him in the defensive zone.  If you do not have a deep sense of what it means to be a team player, you can't succeed at's that simple!

As a result, in spite of people like Sean Avery, many people in the hockey world believe hockey requires an athlete of a higher pedigree than the rest of the professional sporting world...and they even use a different mode of transportation!  What other sport tires you out after only 45 seconds of going 100%?!

I want to spread the true values of the sport...sportsmanship, teamwork, and fair, tough hockey.  A sport that requires decent people to succeed, and can be embraced and respected across the globe.

Running hockey camps in China was an incredible experience for me.  Not only did I get to see a country on the opposite side of the world, but I saw first hand what providing hockey can mean to people.  The kids in Heilongjiang Province in Northeastern China were being given an opportunity to succeed through the sport, and get a chance to come to America.  Seeing the kids the following year, it was incredible how much they improved from one structured hockey clinic, but one thing became matter what country you are from, no matter the environment you grew up in, the only language that is spoken on the ice is of hockey, with the set of values and principles that come with the sport.


Listen to my broadcast from  Saturday, 1/10 with the guys from Hockey Night on Long Island: 
Listen to Hockey Night on Long Island on internet talk radio

Special thanks to the Allan and Rolly at Nasty Hockey Show for being strong advocates for this program, and putting together this broadcast. Please check it out!
Awesome quote from their website: "I’ll match your contributions up to a total of $200. Just leave a comment on this blog with what you have donated."
Thank you guys!
Special thanks to Sarah Elizabeth Foster of for doing this interview, supporting the cause, and donating! (NOTE: I mention in the video I'll be leaving by the New Year. My departure date is now set at 1/12/09!)