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A worthy goal: Scout, Steeler hockey player hopes to boost participation

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 is dedicating his time to support the organization he plays for.

Isaac Williams of Fredonia recently set out to deliver more than 4,000 fliers to school districts all around the area and post around 200 yard signs to advertise the Steelers’ Learn to Play Hockey youth program, which begins this Saturday.

“It feels pretty good to help out,” said Isaac Williams.

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

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

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

Equipment is provided for its members, which is one of the many needs the organization has that Williams hopes to address.

Nick Williams, Isaac’s father and a member of the NCCYHA Board of Directors, explained how when the pandemic first impacted Chautauqua County, the Steelers organization saw its numbers drop. One factor in that was with the SUNY Fredonia campus closed, the Steelers had to move to Jamestown to find an arena to use. The Steelers organization is hopeful that by increasing enrollment in the Learn to Play Hockey program, numbers across all levels can begin to rise for years to come.

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

The school districts Williams handed fliers out to are Brocton, Cassadaga, Central Christian Academy, Chautauqua Lake, Dunkirk, Forestville, Fredonia, Northern Chautauqua Cathloci School, Pine Valley, Ripley, Silver Creek, and Westfield. Those same districts are the areas where the signs were placed.

Williams created a GoFundMe page titled NCCYHA Fredonia Steelers Hockey Organization, which has received just over half of his goal of $5,000 to date. All funds raised will cover the printing costs for flyers and road signs, as well as the materials for building shelves for the storage area, Isaac Williams claims. Any money left over will be used to purchase more equipment for the Learn to Play Hockey program.

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

Williams also reached out to USA Hockey, the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins to ask for donations of money, memorabilia, or equipment. He remains hopeful for a response.

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