They Play Their Hearts Out. Let’s Support Them.
TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jason Ritchie found solace and purpose on the ice. More than just a sport, hockey taught him invaluable life lessons, especially the importance of teamwork, accountability and dedication. After his untimely passing, his parents wanted to honor his legacy by launching a foundation that uses hockey and other sports to help other youth discover and live up to their potential.
Hall of Famers Warren Sapp and Barry Larkin and Tampa Bay Lightning Alum Dwayne Roloson are among more than 30 sports legends scheduled to participate in a celebrity golf tournament fundraiser on Jan. 19 for the Ritchie Hockey Foundation (RHF), the organization started in Jason’s honor. The tournament is the focal point of the RHF 2024 Legends of Sport Weekend, which also includes a free Youth Baseball Clinic on Jan. 18 and a free Youth Goalie Clinic on Jan. 20.
Baseball Camp, Golf Tourney and Hockey Clinic Benefit Local Youth
RHF is proud to host a baseball clinic for Tampa Bay youth. Aspiring sluggers from Tampa RBI Rays (part of the MLB Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities initiative), Burg Baseball, Inc. and a variety of Tampa-area youth baseball organizations will run drills with former professional baseball players, including MLB and Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, along with RBI coaches “Hard Hittin’” Mark Whiten and Carl Everett. It will be held at the University of Tampa Baseball Field and begins at 6 pm.
The golf tourney will be held on January 20 at TPC Tampa Bay, a Golf Digest 4.5 star-rated course that has been named one of the top five golf courses in Florida by Florida Golf Magazine. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund scholarships and will also benefit Rays RBI Tampa. NFL and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall of Famer Warren Sapp along with Dexter Jackson, MVP of Super Bowl XXXVII as a member of the Tampa Bay Bucs, are among a variety of professional football, hockey, baseball and basketball players participating in our 2024 event.
The Youth Goalie Clinic will be held on Saturday in conjunction with the “Good as Gould Goalie School” at the Clearwater Ice Arena. This will be the sixth year in a row (pandemic notwithstanding) that the Foundation has hosted this free event to support young hockey players and give back to Bay area youth.
The Foundation’s Mission
All funds raised will help advance the foundation’s mission to provide resources and mentoring to hard-working, deserving youth who share in Jason’s drive and dedication – kids who play their hearts out on the ice. In 2023, the foundation provided assistance to 22 students in more than five states. Our financial support allowed these youth to pay for private coaching and tournament fees, and to participate in clinics, to hone their skills and propel them forward in their athletic career. These are cost-prohibitive activities in which they would not have been able to participate without scholarships from our Foundation.
“Hockey was what Jason loved. This foundation was established to help deserving youth who share his same passion for sports. While we started as a hockey foundation, we really are a youth sports foundation,” said Donna Ritchie, president of the Ritchie Hockey Foundation and Jason’s mother. After Jason was tragically killed in a car accident in 2009 while driving home from a hockey game, Donna and her husband, Bob, CEO of American Integrity Insurance Company, channeled their grief into starting the foundation, which has raised more than $1M, given out more than 40 scholarships and hosted clinics for thousands of kids since its inception. Bob and Donna hope to expand the foundation’s reach in 2024; “who knows, maybe we will be able to double our awarded scholarships in the next few years,” said Donna.
The foundation’s mission is to empower kids on and off the ice, field, or court. “We’re thrilled that these sports legends, along with so many generous members of the community, have joined with us to honor Jason and help young athletes to achieve their dreams,” said Bob Ritchie. “Although our primary focus is hockey, we’re proud to expand the foundation’s reach by including high-profile athletes from other sports and giving to a variety of organizations and youth in Tampa and beyond.”
For more information about The Ritchie Hockey Foundation, please visit http://ritchiehockeyfoundation.org/.