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Vote Haferman all week long for NHL Hero Award

Vote Haferman all week long for NHL Hero Award

Lori Schmidt

Growing hockey in Columbus leads to national recognition

The man who has helped grow the Columbus Ice Hockey Club from a program serving a mere 10-20 children to one serving 5,000 kids a year is up for a major award as a result. 

Executive Director of the CIHC John Haferman is one of three finalists for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, which every year goes to an individual who “has worked to make a positive impact on his or her community, culture, or society to make people better through hockey.”

O’Ree, a former Boston Bruins winger who was the first black player in the NHL, personally selected Haferman and the other finalists. 


The CIHC has partnered with the Columbus Blue Jackets to bring the NHL’s Hockey is For Everyone campaign to Columbus, and under Hafterman’s oversight, the CIHC has distributed more than $300,000 in scholarships and $250,000 in hockey equipment. 

The organization has served more than 16,000 young black hockey players and 7,500 girls. In addition to bringing the sport to underrepresented communities, they have run programs for blind and sled hockey players. 

“Anybody who wants to try, there should never be a reason to say, ‘Oh, no. You wouldn’t be able to do this,’” Haferman told “Unless you give them a chance, you’ll never even know.” 

Haferman is also the Director of Hockey for the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, which oversees hockey instruction out of the 28 rec centers operated by the city. 

You can vote for Haferman by clicking on this link.

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