The Detroit Red Wings Foundation and The Children’s Foundation will unveil an Esports Lounge for youth members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) at the Lloyd H. Diehl Club on Wednesday, March 9. Completion of the lounge is part of a $300,000 investment between the Red Wings Foundation and Children’s Foundation to strengthen the career and entrepreneur pipeline for youth in the sports and Esports industries, and is a core component of the Red Wings’ groundbreaking Learn, Play, Score platform.
Building upon the success of an Esports Lounge previously installed by the Detroit Red Wings Foundation at the Dick & Sandy Dauch Club, the Esports Lounge at the Lloyd H. Diehl Club is the first of three additional lounges the Red Wings Foundation and The Children’s Foundation have committed to build at BGCSM locations to benefit the youth of metro Detroit. Featuring the latest technology, a total of five Esports Lounges will come online this year at BGCSM locations through support from the Red Wings Foundation, The Children’s Foundation, and other donors.
Esports + Hockey lounges and programming will be offered at the following BGCSM locations across metro Detroit:
- Dick & Sandy Dauch Club (Detroit, Opened 2020)
- Lloyd H. Diehl Club (Detroit, Opened 2022)
- Fauver-Martin Club (Highland Park, Opening Summer 2022)
- Eastpointe Club (Eastpointe, Opening 2022)
- Matilda R. Wilson Club (Auburn Hills, Opening 2022)
In addition to year-round programming for BGCSM members, the facilities will provide paid workforce development and industry experience for nearly 200 youth from Detroit each year through the BGCSM Industry Club. BGCSM is the first Boys & Girls Clubs location in the nation to provide the Industry Club model to pay youth to learn about careers in Esports, sports, entertainment, as well as fashion and merchandising, tech, data science, and risk management. Applications are currently open to youth for all Industry Clubs at www.bgcsm.org/industry-club.
The Diehl location will be a hub for upcoming Esports tournaments and leagues that also take place across the BGCSM Esports + Hockey network. The space will also be available for neighborhood gatherings, corporate events and more.
“The partnership with the Detroit Red Wings and The Children’s Foundation brings so many resources to the youth in our BGCSM ecosystem,” said Shawn H. Wilson, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan. “Beyond the amazing Egaming league play, within the new facility youth will have the opportunity to receive paid workforce and tech entrepreneurship experience, which ensures they leave our Clubs career and start up ready!”
The Red Wings and BGCSM will also introduce Street Hockey in The D: Club Sessions this Wednesday at the Diehl location as part of the Esports + Hockey program. Youth members will begin learning and playing floor hockey in the gyms at Diehl and across the BGCSM Esports + Hockey network. Once the game has been mastered, Club locations will compete against each other for a seasonal title.
Through support from The Children’s Foundation, BGCSM will provide youth programming geared toward social and emotional support at Clubs within the Esports + Hockey network. These unique programs will focus on supporting the mental wellness of Club members through special guest speakers and interactive experiences.
“This collaboration establishes another unique approach to improving the health and wellness of children and families,” said Lawrence J. Burns, President & CEO, The Children’s Foundation. “It particularly targets two of our main focus areas of mental health and youth development and is representative of what we do by bringing together a variety of community partners. We look forward to seeing the impact of this innovative, collaborative, and one-of-a-kind programming.”
Both the Esports + Hockey and Street Hockey in The D programs are key extensions of Learn, Play, Score. The Red Wings and their partners have introduced a variety of deeply rooted interactive programs and experiences for Detroit youth in the past two years, including Street Hockey in The D: At School with Detroit Public Schools Community District, Street Hockey in The D: At Home and Street Hockey in The D: Summer Series with Detroit Parks and Recreation, and Community Open Skates at Little Caesars Arena for all Learn, Play, Score participants and families.
The grand opening of the Diehl Esports Lounge, and the upcoming implementation of the Esports + Hockey program at Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan locations, are the next steps in the evolution of the Detroit Red Wings Learn, Play, Score platform.
Established during the 2019-20 season as part of a $1 million commitment from the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Red Wings Foundation, and NHL/NHLPA Industry Growth Fund, the Learn, Play, Score platform is breaking down systemic barriers by introducing equitable access to hockey in various forms for thousands of children across the city of Detroit. In partnership with respected local organizations and revered Detroiters, children of all ages and abilities are now experiencing the social, emotional, and educational benefits of hockey – many of them for the first time.
“Serving kids in our community is at the foundation of the Learn, Play, Score platform, and we are excited that youth members at Boys & Girls Clubs across our region will be engaged in both the Esports + Hockey and street hockey components of the program,” said Chris McGowan, President and CEO of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “We’re looking forward to partnering with The Children’s Foundation to provide long-lasting opportunities and memories for these kids, and we can’t wait to see them at a Red Wings game soon.”
The Learn, Play, Score Esports + Hockey program will deliver necessary tools and experiences for hundreds of BGCSM youth members to discover the exciting cross-section of Esports, gaming and professional sports as they realize ways to unlock their own potential. Interacting with the latest technology, experiencing hands-on workforce opportunities, and learning the powerful principles in hockey, Esports + Hockey aims to serve as a catalyst for kids in metro Detroit to achieve their dreams.
The third Esports Lounge will open in the coming months at BGCSM’s Fauver-Martin Club in Highland Park.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan Industry Club Initiative aligns with the organization’s efforts to address poverty through economic mobility, and to continually have a positive community impact and advancement for youth and their families.