Before the start of his seventh season for his Flint Inner-City Youth Hockey Program, Rico Phillips presented a big check to the Kris Perani Hockey Foundation to help even more kids play hockey. As the winner of the 2019 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award by the NHL, Phillips was given $10,000 to present to the charity of his choice, and he selected the Kris Perani Foundation, which helps players in need cover their ice bills so they can keep playing hockey.
Following the check presentation, Phillips and his team of volunteers welcomed a new group of children to hockey. The participants in the Flint Inner-City Youth Hockey Program listened to the presentation from their new coach before going through an assembly line for gear fitting and jersey sizing, as they were all outfitted in equipment from head-to-toe that will be theirs through the duration of the winter program and stored for them at the arena. After that, they took their first steps on the ice, and learned their first hockey – and life – lessons from Phillips and his support staff of volunteers.