Clark Park Classic

Learn more about Clark Park

I'll never forget the first time I met Clark Park Executive Director Anthony Benavides.
It was at a coaching clinic, and Anthony gave a brief spiel about Clark Park, concluding: "Only in Detroit could a Mexican man teach black kids to play hockey."
It was a funny line that captured the beauty of Southwest Detroit, a neighborhood where EVERYONE comes together to help the city thrive.
It's been several years since that first meeting, but we've kept in touch over the years. In 2014, I started hosting an annual outdoor game at Clark Park for guys I skate with from all over metro Detroit.
My friendship with Anthony, admiration for the volunteers and leaders of the Clark Park Coalition, a desire to do more for city kids, and the support of my bosses at Fox 2 all contributed to the creation of the inaugural Clark Park Winter Carnival Hockey Classic.
The game will be played at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28 on Clark Park's amazing outdoor rink.
This is me under the moonlight at Clark Park last month.

The game has one helluva long name, but that's appropriate. Appropriate because as the town square of Southwest Detroit, Clark Park has a lot to offer -- and because we want to raise a lot of money to support the park and its wonderful programs!
The game will capture both Detroit's chippy spirit and the sportsmanship inherent in hockey, and not just because the teams will be led by me and prominent criminal defense attorney Mike Rataj.
Rataj and I don't always see eye-to-eye when we're on the same story/case, but even when we disagree, we're rarely disagreeable. I'm terrible hockey player and Rataj is pretty damn good. And in the true spirit of hockey, we always shake hands at the end of the day.
Every player who will take the ice with us has made a generous donation to help support the Clark Park Coalition. The purpose of this gofundme campaign is to allow people who can't play in the game (or attend the game) to support youth programs from the comfort of their keyboard.
All funds raised will go to the Clark Park Coalition, which was formed in 1991 when the City of Detroit closed Clark Park during a fiscal crisis. Parents and residents of Southwest Detroit created the Coalition, which works with the Detroit Recreation Department to keep the park open. 
Today, Clark Park offers year round activities for thousands of young people. Activities include ice hockey and skating on the park's outstanding outdoor rink, and free lunches for more than 100 kids a day throughout the summer.
In recent years, rock star Jack White, who grew up near the park, helped rehabilitate one of the park's ballfields. In 2014, the NHL donated a Zamboni resurfacing machine for the rink during the NHL Winter Classic festivities, which culminated in a game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The outdoor rink is both a throwback to the days of Ol' Tyme Hockey and one of Detroit's winter treasures.
Please help keep this important resource alive and well for future generations of Detroiters, as well as visitors to one of the city's most dynamic neighborhoods!
Thank you in advance for your generousity,


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  • Amy Gromek 
    • $75 
    • 46 mos
  • Marc Tirikian 
    • $30 
    • 46 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $151 
    • 46 mos
  • mike gentile 
    • $25 
    • 46 mos
  • Michael Renda 
    • $200 
    • 56 mos
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M.L. Elrick 
Detroit, MI

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