Flint, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds Hockey Club is holding a watch party for Flint native Rico Phillips, who is one of three finalists for the NHL’s Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, to be announced in front of an internationally televised audience at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, NV this Wednesday, Jun. 19.
The Firebirds are inviting fans and supporters of Rico Phillips to Buffalo Wild Wings in Flint Township (3192 S Linden Rd G, Flint Twp, MI 48507) for a live watch party beginning at 7:30 p.m. (ET). NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will televise the event in the United States and Sportsnet will broadcast the event throughout Canada from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
“The gravity of the situation becomes much more intense for me because although it’s an individual award, this award means so much more to my community,” said Phillips. “If I’m fortunate enough to win the award, I’ll know that as I stand there on stage, that I will have the pride of everyone back home watching so this is going to give me the strength and courage I’ll need to stand in front of an international audience.”
The Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award is given “to an individual who – through the game of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Phillips serves as director of the Flint Inner City Youth Hockey Program (FICYHP), based in Flint, Mich. Phillips, who grew up in the city, was determined to make his community a better and more welcoming place. He began that mission by achieving his lifelong dream of becoming a professional firefighter, serving his hometown. In 2010, Phillips created FICYHP to provide a free introduction to hockey for children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to play the sport. Its mentors, including Phillips, are committed to teaching life skills – such as sportsmanship, character and cultural diversity – through the game. FICYHP’s most recent nine-week course wrapped up in March, highlighted by a visit from O’Ree – who witnessed firsthand the growth and development of each participant.
About The Flint Firebirds:
The Flint Firebirds are a proud member of the prestigious 20-team Ontario Hockey League. The OHL is part of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), which is known as the world’s premiere player development league for the NHL. On NHL opening day rosters in October, 70% of NHL players were CHL alums. Since the Firebirds’ inception in Flint, Michigan four seasons ago, the team has produced 15 NHL signed or drafted players. More than 250 scouts representing all 31 NHL clubs attended a Firebirds game in Flint throughout the 2018-19 season. The Firebirds average nearly 3,000 fans per game at the newly renovated Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center, reaching over 100,000 fans each OHL season.
For media inquiries, contact:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club