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(PHILADELPHIA, PA – February 23, 2012) Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider will join National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, and other hockey executives at the Congressional Hockey Caucus briefing at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, February 29 at 2 p.m. Hosted by Pennsylvania Representative Patrick Meehan, the Caucus will focus on the positive impact community-based hockey programs, such as the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, have on the development of essential life skills, character, and academic success.

NBC News congressional correspondent Luke Russert will moderate and conduct a discussion examining grassroots youth hockey initiatives, cutting edge curriculum, and supplemental educational programming designed to build character and academic skills for at-risk inner-city boys and girls with an esteemed panel of guests.

In addition to Snider and Bettman; Ted Leonsis (Chairman & Majority Owner, Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Washington Capitals), Dave Ogrean (Executive Director, USA Hockey), and Johnny C. Taylor, Jr (CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund), will speak at the Caucus.

Flyers founder Ed Snider created Snider Hockey in 2005 as a personal commitment to introduce the sport of hockey and skating to inner city children, particularly those who otherwise would never have such opportunity. The Foundation uses the sport of ice hockey as its “hook” to bring a diverse population of children together, enabling them to enjoy a top-notch sports experience coupled with an array of educational activities, and a nationally acclaimed life skills curriculum. The program has rapidly grown to include over 3,000 participants in just its seventh full season.

“We are convinced that we can use our sport to help change lives,” said Snider, “and we have collected empirical data from our participants’ report cards to support our case. Ninety-six percent of our boys and girls are matriculating from one grade level to the next, keeping them on-track for on-time graduation, which is remarkable considering these children come from the same inner-city neighborhoods and schools that graduate less than forty-five percent of their students.”

The mission of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation is to build lives and unite communities and succeeds by using the sport of hockey to help educate young people to succeed in the game of life. The program incorporates on-ice and off-ice activities, stressing citizenship, academics, and life skills. Snider Hockey services are targeted for boys and girls who otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn to skate or to play ice hockey. The Foundation provides equipment, ice time, and experienced coaching at no cost. The Foundation partners with the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, the Camden, New Jersey School District, and the School District of Philadelphia to bring its programs to 10 sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region to children from over 100 public schools.

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