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By: Nate Haeni
Rockford, Ill.- Rockford IceHogs forward Brandon Bollig is partnering with Hillman Elementary School and organizing a reading program for third, fourth and fifth graders.

As a member of Hockey Players For Kids (HP4K), Bollig kicked off an incentive-based reading competition for the students Wednesday, called “Stick to Reading”. Fellow IceHogs skaters Brian Connelly and Ben Smith were also on hand to inform the students that the top readers will participate in a floor hockey game with the IceHogs at the conclusion of the seven-week program.

Throughout the seven week stretch, Bollig and his teammates will check in at Hillman and offer other incentives for students showing improvement in their reading.

“All the guys involved with this are excited to get it going and create a good relationship with the school and students through Stick to Reading,” said Bollig. “We want to help improve reading and further their education but have a little fun doing it.”

The Stick to Reading program will end on Wednesday, Feb. 22 with a floor hockey game at Hillman Elementary, featuring the IceHogs and top readers during the program. Two students from each class in the participating grade levels will be selected to play in the game. 

Last season former IceHogs winger and 2010-11 IceHogs Man of the Year, Kyle Hagel created the same reading program at Kishwaukee Elementary School in Rockford. After the program, the kids showed improvement as the fifth grade students that won the competition improved their readings scores during ISAT testing by an average of 7.57%. Overall 89.4% of fourth and fifth grade students showed improvement in their scores in the reading section.

HP4K is a non-profit organization founded by professional hockey player Dustin Sproat. The organization consists of over 50 professional hockey players in the National Hockey League, American Hockey League, ECHL, Central Hockey League and more.

For more information regarding HP4K, visit

Next Home Game: Monday, Jan. 16 vs. Texas Stars. Game time is 1:05 p.m. The IceHogs return home for the first time in more than two weeks for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. matinee game to take on the Stars for the second and final time at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The first 1,500 kids 14 and under will pick up an IceHogs Drawstring Bag courtesy of Frito Lay.

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