Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Awards Day

This weekend was our annual Awards Day. We gave medals and trophies to all the kids who played hockey this year. It never ceases to amaze me how much the kids and families love this day. Often when I visit a DinoMights home, I see the trophies proudly displayed in the living room. When I was a kid my trophies were relegated to my bedroom! It just goes to show, DinoMights is more than just a hockey team. It is a family and the whole family is welcome to be a part of it. I'm embedding this year's annual highlights video below. Enjoy!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Richard Westley Wong

I want to tell everyone about Richard Westley Wong. Rich, along with his wife Leah, have the most hockey coaching experience at DinoMights. They have been coaching the Mites for 8 years! In addition to doing a great job coaching and loving kids they have also contributed by sharing some of their other talents. In particular, Rich is an aspiring professional photographer. He has donated his services to DinoMights by taking the annual team picture and by taking pictures for the fundraiser invitations. Pictured here are some photos he has taken for DinoMights. If you want to see more of his amazing work, please visit his website www.richardwestleywong.com.


This is a picture of Joeny for the 2008 Fundraiser Invitation. Rich took this picture at St. Anthony Main. The setting sun was lighting up the Hennepin Avenue bridge and he used a flash to light Joeny. It is a beautiful contrast between the subject and background.

The Pond Boys

This is probably my favorite DinoMights picture ever. It is the iconic shot of boys going to the pond; carrying skates on sticks over shoulders. Only these aren't the kids you'd expect to see at the pond! This really sums up DinoMights. They are African, African-American, Asian, Caucasian, etc. This photo truly shows that Hockey is for Everyone!


Rich shot this photo for the 2007 fundraiser invite. It is a picture of Jatessa, one of six graduating seniors in 2007.

DinoMights in Action

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Fun" Fridays

Let's make Fridays on the Dino Blog all about fun!

In the spirit of fun, KelseyChristine asked, "What are some of the funniest moments you have had with Dinomight kids over the years?"

Here are a few that come to mind. I know that the alumni reading will remind me of moments that we've had too. If you've been a part of DinoMights as a participant or volunteer feel free to chime in on the comments or send me an email of your funniest moments. If we get enough we'll have a March Madness Bracket Tournament of Funniest Moments.
If no one is seriously injured it is seriously funny

This story is in the category of: "It could have been really bad, but since no one got hurt it is actually very funny." John and James will never let me forget the time we were on a bike trip in the Minnesota River Flats of Bloomington, MN. We were on narrow trails weaving in and out of trees. We were using a very high gear, because we needed to make very precise movements rather than go very fast. I was following closely behind James who turned directly into a tree. To avoid hitting James I made a sharp left turn . . . directly into a six foot deep pit. Not only that, but the pit was filled with about 3 feet of muck. You know the kind of stuff that suctions off your shoe when you try to pull it out like Ed Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. My shin was bleeding and I was filled with mud (understatement). Everyone was laughing super hard. I wasn't seriously hurt, which made it pretty funny . . . I guess it was pretty funny. There were no cameras present so I don't really know what it looked like. But, for everyone else who saw it, especially John and James, that is what they think about when funniest DinoMights moments are mentioned.

"I'm not Canadian"

One year we ordered some Wednesday morning ice time for just the PeeWees in the spring time. We started shortly after the annual awards banquet. Luis, a seventh grader of Mexican descent was outside the DinoMights vans at 6:00 AM. He proceeded to indignintly ask me, "Scott, are you Canadian?"
He then asked John Foley, the former Director, "John, are you Canadian?"
"No, but my dad is." John said.
Luis went on to say very firmly, "I'm not Canadian. They laugh at me cause I'm Canadian!?! I'm not Canadian."
Puzzled, John and I tried to get to the bottom of this. We wondered who was accusing him of being Canadian and why it bothered him so much. It turns out at the Awards Day, Coach Mike had given everyone on the team a nickname, like "hardest worker" or "Most Improved." Well, he gave Luis the name, "Comedian," because his teammates are always laughing at him. I woke up in the middle of the night laughing at the thought of Luis saying, "They laugh at me cause I'm Canadian! I'm not Canadian."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Funniest Captions from the contest

The panel of three judges conferred. Here is what we decided:

Second Runners Up

"Go ahead. Make my day."

"You talking to me?"

He does sort of look like he has a chip on his shoulder in this picture. Or like maybe there is a lot of emotion brewing beneath the surface.

First Runners Up

"Jerome Iginla ain't got nothin' on me!" "Wait, who's Jerome Iguana?"

Very funny hockey reference.

"I hate it when my mom buys clothes with my name on the front." -Vic

It is sort of in the same category as the others. Like he has something he is slightly upset about. The funniest part about it to me is that it is 'signed'. Like it is a note that this kid left us.

"Do you know, I could really do with some Irn Bru"

I like this one for the international flair. If nothing else it shows that that DinoMight's blog is being read around the world. Irn Bru is a soda that is very popular in Scotland. It is bright pink and tastes somewhere in between bubble gum and medicine. When I lived in Scotland for a few months, the friends that stocked my kitchen filled my refridgerator with Irn Bru. It tasted totally gross. I kept tasting it, for the possibility that maybe this time I'd like it. To no avail, however, strangely I visited again 4 years later and just loved it. It's kind of like how someone from Scotland might feel if they visited here and tasted Root Beer.

And the Winner of the first funny caption contest . . . J. Sundberg, who wrote,

"How did all these girls get in the locker room?"

The boy in the picture is named Cornelius. He is in third grade. I think he'd actually say that. Third grade is that time when girls have girl germs. Some things never change.

J. Sundberg, send me an email, scott@dinomights.com with your size and address to claim your prize!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned tomorrow a post on funniest moments in DinoMights. More contests to come!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Funny Caption Contest

There are many DinoMights moments that make us laugh. Here is an image, which is pretty plain on the surface. However, with a little imagination it too can be a moment that makes us laugh. So, here's the challenge: use your imagination and give this photo a funny caption. You know, like if it were a comic strip in the newspaper and there was a bubble coming from the mouth's of the characters. Or, like a Far Side that has a funny comment about the picture. The responses will be judged by a panel of three judges, and I'll post the funniest responses tomorrow. AND since our give away on Monday was so successful, we'll award the funniest response another DinoMights T-Shirt!

Your comments might look something like this:
"I forgot to have my coffee before this early morning practice. Oh right, my mom won't let me have coffee."

Whether or not that is funny is up to the judges to decide!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Thank you to everyone who read the blog yesterday and got involved by leaving a comment. I hope we can do this kind of thing often. In fact, Let's do an encore contest tomorrow!

All comments were put on post-its folded and drawn by DinoMights Program Assistant, Leah Engelhart from a Minnesota Wild Coffee Mug.

Email me your size and address if I don't already know it to claim your prize by clicking here, or by sending a message to scott@dinomights.com. Don't feel bad if you didn't win. There will be another contest tomorrow! (Plus, if you desperately want a t-shirt, you can buy one. E-mail me and I'll tell you how.)

So now for a few of the questions asked on yesterday's comments:

Robert asked, "Are the teams the DinoMights play against in the Twin Cities similar programs, park/rec teams or ...?"

DinoMights has five hockey teams. Our PeeWee team (Middle School boys and some girls) is a level "C" team and we compete in Minnesota Hockey's District 1. This is our most competitive team. We basically play teams from all over Minneapolis and St. Paul including, Johnson, Irondale, Como, and Highland Park.

Our Girls (Middle School Girls), Squirts (4th-5th Graders) and Mites (2nd-3rd Graders) are a part of the Minneapolis Park Board league. They play against teams from other neighborhoods in Minneapolis. For example: Pearl Park, Lynnhurst park, North Commons park etc. In the Park Board leagues we are officially known as Central DinoMights named for nearby Central Park.

Our mini-mites (K-2nd Grade) do not play games against other teams. This level is "Learn to Play."

We are the only program among all the teams that we play that formally provides other youth development activities besides hockey like academics, community service, and faith based activities. In addition we are the only program in the Twin Cities officially recognized as an NHL Hockey is for Everyone program.

Does DinoMights pull kids from across the cities or do you focus on a very specific area?

DinoMights serves the Central, Powderhorn and Phillips neighborhoods of South Minneapolis. If a family moves out of the neighborhood, often we can still work with them, because one of our top values is long-term relationships. I do get calls and emails from families that are not in our area from time to time. Although exceptions can be made on occasion, it is important for us to stick to our mission. Also, we are not trying to steal kids from other hockey programs.

Leah asked, "Why do kids like DinoMights [maybe you can share some quotes from the kids :)]"
There are some Alumni reading the blog. I'd love it if they would chime in on this question too! Here's what the kids say,

"Going to Feed My Starving Children and helping with Learn 2 Skate have helped me to help others."
-Noe, age 11
"The most important thing about DinoMights is learning hockey with a positive group of kids."
-Charissa, age 9
"Playing hockey makes me feel better about who I am."
-Edward, age 8
"I am achieving in a sport and I am having fun."
-Lucy, age 11
"It encourages me to do well in school"
-Nancy, age 11
"The most important things about DinoMights are learning about God and playing hockey."
-Sandy, age 14

Monday, March 23, 2009


Blogging everyday is a challenge. Of all the things I could tell you about DinoMights what do I choose? So I am letting you tell me. I am looking for the readers of this blog to ask questions about DinoMights. I'll use your questions to guide my writing for the next few days.

Now here's the fun part. I really want to get people involved in this blog. So here's my first shameless attempt to get you to read everyday.


All you have to do is leave a comment or a question about DinoMights on this blog posting. Every person, that's right, each and every person leaving a comment to this posting will be entered in a drawing for a DinoMights long sleeve T-Shirt just like the one I'm wearing in the photo.

I will announce the winner tomorrow and give instructions for claiming your prize. (That way you have to read tomorrow to see if you won!) Feel free to email this post to friends or guide friends to this page (By Facebook or whatever) for the chance to learn about DinoMights and maybe win a T-Shirt.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hockey in the Hood Tournament

As we get started on this 40 day blogging journey (We're on Day 3) I feel compelled to explain everything about DinoMights all at once. Alas, it just is not possible if I am really going to Blog 40 week days in a row. So sometime soon we are going to do a Q/A blog. But for now, I just want give you some fun moments to get your interest flowing. As always if you want to learn more about us visit the DinoMights website, and to learn more about today's topic view the Hockey is for Everyone Page.

You may know that, among many things, DinoMights is a youth hockey program. You may also know that we are a diverse hockey program that is a member of the NHL Hockey Is For Everyone Initiative. As a member we had the once in a lifetime opportunity this year to participate in the Hockey in the Hood Tournament with other diversity programs from around North America. The Tourney was held in Detroit, MI. (Please watch the official tournament video, it is really well done and features some clips of DinoMights including Sandy scoring a goal, coach Eric, as well as me inspiring the team.)

Hockey in the Hood Tournament Highlights

We had a road trip
(I'll do a whole post on The Chicken, known as La Gallina sometime in the future too.)

We played hockey
Here we are shaking hands with the Alaska team. We also played Columbus, Ohio and Detroit, MI.

We visited the Motown Museum
"Baby there ain't no mountain high enough!"

We skated at Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings
Here's the team posing in front of a picture of the Wings with the Cup, and of the kids in the players bench.

We saw the Stanley Cup up close!
Seriously, up close. I've seen it before, but never had the chance to read the names or ask questions of the official cup handlers like this time. This is Hector with the most famous sports trophy in the world.

We met Willie O'Ree, the first Black hockey player in the NHL
Here is Layana and her hockey mom Lawanda with Willie. He is a very generous man with a great story to tell.

Wild Game

Kids at DinoMights get to do a lot of cool stuff! Not just hockey. This Tuesday they got to work on their sales skills. Twice a year the Minnesota Wild of the NHL, asks DinoMights to sell the programs at their games. After the kids finish selling they get to enjoy watching the rest of the game. As usual, it is about more than just the fun thing that they get to do. Yes a professional hockey game is a fun thing to watch. But learning a skill like sales might even benefit someone's career someday. That's what we're really all about. They have fun playing hockey or going to a Wild game, but they are really becoming well rounded people that can make a difference in their world!

Here's Edison showing off his sales skills, "Excuse me would you like to buy a program?"

Here is Noe having a fun time at the Xcel Energy Center . . . AFTER we finish selling!

Brad Bombardir played several years for the Wild. He is now the Director of Community Partnerships. He has been to our annual fundraiser a few times, attended a Wednesday morning practice, and hosted a career day for our academic award winners. Here he is visiting with a few DinoMights at the Wild Game.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

40 Days of Dino Blogs

I want to tell everyone about DinoMights. Writing is something that I love, and DinoMights, the non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization of which I am the director, is something that I love too. So I am combining these loves on this new blog. This blog will tell the story of DinoMights, A.K.A. Hockey in the Hood, every day for the next 40 days.

You will like this blog if:

1) You already know about DinoMights and already think it is awesome
2) You love hearing about creative innovative ways to build a better world; especially in our inner cities
3) You love hearing about kids who succeed when others around them are not succeeding - or - you love hearing about kids who are not succeeding getting a chance at success
4) You love ice hockey and you think everyone should play it no matter how much money they have or what their ethnic backgrounds may be.
5) You believe in God and think that "good news" is more than just a front page article in the newspaper

A few notes about this project:

1) DinoMights is a youth development program featuring hockey, in Minneapolis. The philosophy of DinoMights centers around maintaining relationships with youth from their elementary years through high school graduation, and providing them with the various kinds of support they need to become self-assured, competent adults. To learn more visit the website http://www.dinomights.com
2) One important thing about blogging is that it needs to be something new pretty regularly.
• Therefore, you can expect something new about DinoMights every week day from now until mid-May.
• Therefore, I will most likely have to restrain myself from writing grand theses everyday. The reason I don't blog more already is because of the pressure to write something Tolstoy worthy every time.
3)Eventually I hope to move this blog to the DinoMights website. Whenever my technological ability or my friends with that ability are ready. When or if that happens there will be a link posted.
4) Please get involved in this project!!!!
• It is my hope that you will read this blog regularly. Become a follower, add it to your blog lists, or add it to your link list.
• As a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization we rely on the support of others. If this blog inspires you, the DinoMights would love it if you would consider one of the many ways you can become a part of this story.

So there it is. My work is cut out for me. Tell the DinoMights story 40 times in 40 week days. So stay tuned for more stories from "Hockey in the Hood!"