DEK hockey’s official launch in Arizona occurred on April 14, 2017. Caliber is proud to be involved with the Arizona Coyotes and KuKaZi (DEK Hockey initiative founder, architect and development partner), who along with professional and amateur Hockey’s upper echelon will be launching (June 2017) launched the national youth sports initiative EMPowerPlay, (EMP = Educate, Motivate and Participate). The partnership is working across the U.S. with city parks/recs departments, youth organizations (Boys and Girls Clubs, The Y, etc.), volunteer companies, Fortune 500’s and citizens to offer youth an opportunity to learn and play the great sport of Hockey.
The Arizona Coyotes and Luke Air Force Base held a huge dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony at the base. Members of the Coyotes hockey team, Air Force families, employees and media were in attendance. Luke ‘s Fire Chief Kinkade was master of ceremonies. Caliber was recognized twice in speeches — once when the Fire Chief read a summary of partners and also when KuKaZi/EMPowerplay Founder Kelly K, spoke of the initiative.
What is DEK Hockey? DEK hockey is simply Hockey in your sneakers and played in state-of-the-art outdoor rinks. DEK gives kids and adults access to newly constructed, outdoor hockey rinks with an opportunity to learn and play DEK hockey year-round. DEK Hockey is one of the fastest growing sports in North America. Hockey’s main barrier to entry for youth and their families is its cost (ice, equipment, availability, travel, etc.), however with DEK, anyone can participate with just gym shoes, shin guards and a stick.
How is Caliber playing a part in DEK Hockey? Lead initiative architect and developer, KuKaZi, worked with the Arizona Coyotes to assist with obtaining funding grants from the NHL and the NHLPA to launch the initiative here in Arizona. Through Caliber’s contacts in the hockey community, Peter Anadranistakis was introduced to the CEO/President of KuKaZi and it is here that the relationship blossomed. We then learned that the Arizona Coyotes and the NHL were championing KuKaZi’s initiative locally. What made this even more attractive was learning that the first rink was to be built at Luke Air Force Base and for the families of LAFB (Caliber has a strong affinity to military community efforts).
In early April, members of the Caliber Development team volunteered at Luke Air Force Base to help construct the initiative’s first rink in the state of Arizona. Thanks for the hard work and dedication from Caliber's internal team.
Kelly K, the founder of KuKaZi and author and architect of the growth of the game initiative states, “We are beyond appreciative of Caliber’s team involvement and their overall support of our efforts to grow the game of hockey in Arizona. We are especially pleased to offer this to youth throughout the state and more specifically, dedicate our first rink to the great airmen and military families at Luke Air Force Base.”
What is planned next for DEK Hockey in AZ and Beyond? KuKaZi and the Arizona Coyotes have identified a number of additional sites in the Valley where these multi-sport rinks will be constructed. Plans are in motion to launch 30 rinks throughout the state of Arizona over the next 3 years. KuKaZi is already in discussions with several other NHL teams around the country and expect to see the initiative’s footprint flourish across the U.S. and Canada.