A worthy goal: Steeler hockey player Scout hopes to increase attendance | News, Sports, Jobs

Submitted Photos Isaac Williams, left, and his father Nick Williams, right, are pictured on the ice after a game.

A member of the Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers youth hockey program dedicates his time to supporting the organization he plays for.

Isaac Williams of Fredonia recently set out to distribute more than 4,000 flyers to school districts across the region and post about 200 signs to advertise the Steelers’ Learn to Play Hockey youth program, which begins this Saturday.

“It feels good to help” said Isaac Williams.

After speaking with his father, Nick, Isaac Williams was inspired to help the program with his Eagle Scout project. Isaac is a 15-year-old Fredonia High School student entering his ninth year of hockey with the Steelers organization.

The Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers organization is part of the Northern Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association. Teams range from 8U (Mite) to High School Varsity. The Learn to Play Hockey program is designed to get beginners – of any age, but specifically aimed at kids ages 4-10 – interested in the sport.

Isaac Williams is shown during a game with the Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers.

Equipment is provided to its members, which is one of the organization’s many needs that Williams hopes to meet.

Nick Williams, Isaac’s father and NCCYHA board member, explained how when the pandemic first hit Chautauqua County, the Steelers organization saw its membership plummet. One factor in this was that with the SUNY Fredonia campus closed, the Steelers had to relocate to Jamestown to find an arena to use. The Steelers organization hopes that by increasing enrollment in the Learn to Play Hockey program, numbers at all levels can begin to rise for years to come.

“We hope to see an influx of numbers at this level,” said Nick Williams. Nick Williams also noted that this year’s registration numbers are already higher than last year, just days after the flyers were sent out.

The school districts to which Williams distributed flyers are Brocton, Cassadaga, Central Christian Academy, Chautauqua Lake, Dunkirk, Forestville, Fredonia, Northern Chautauqua Cathloci School, Pine Valley, Ripley, Silver Creek and Westfield. These same neighborhoods are the areas where the panels were placed.

Williams set up a GoFundMe page titled NCCYHA Fredonia Steelers Hockey Organization, which has received just over half of its $5,000 goal so far. All funds raised will cover the costs of printing flyers and signage, as well as materials for building shelving for the storage area, says Isaac Williams. Any remaining money will be used to purchase more equipment for the Learn to Play Hockey program.

“I think a lot of people in the organization were really happy with what I did. I don’t think anyone really expected any of this,” said Isaac Williams.

Williams has also reached out to USA Hockey, the Buffalo Sabers and the Pittsburgh Penguins asking for donations of money, memorabilia or equipment. He remains hopeful of an answer.

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Catherine J. Martinez