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Hawks, Johnny's IceHouse To Host "Graduation" Ceremony

06/02/2008 5:54 PM

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Who: Cam Barker, Rene Bourque and Dustin Byfuglien
Johnny’s Ice House
20 selected students from the Chicago Jesuit Academy (CJA)

What: “Graduation” ceremony for the CJA students who have learned ice skating and hockey

When: Wednesday, June 4, 2008
1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

Where: Johnny’s Ice House
1350 W. Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-5555


On Wednesday, June 4, from 1-2pm the Chicago Blackhawks and Johnny's Ice House will host a "graduation" party for 20 students from the Chicago Jesuit Academy (CJA) who have learned skating and hockey at the rink the past two spring semesters.

CJA President Mathew Lynch helped found the West Side middle school three years ago to give young men from modest means the opportunity to earn a full-scholarship college prep education.

"Our students work very hard because they want the best for themselves, their families and their community," Lynch said. "They begin their school days at 7:30 A.M. and conclude them at 6:00 P.M., filling the time between with rigorous classes, mandatory extracurricular activities and an evening study hall. Thanks to Johnny's Ice House and the Chicago Blackhawks, they are also getting the chance to play hard on the ice."

"A few years ago, Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz learned about our school through our board chairman, Matt Botica. Since that time, the Blackhawks Foundation has sponsored four of our students' scholarships. Very simply, the generosity of the Blackhawks is making it possible for our students to earn admission to high schools and colleges that would otherwise be almost impossible for them to attend. We cannot thank them enough," said Lynch.

The relationship grew last year when Johnny's Ice House Owner Tom Moro and the Chicago Blackhawk Alumni offered to provide ice and equipment to teach our students to skate. "We jumped at the chance," Lynch said. "The time on the ice was a great reward to our students for all their hard work in the classroom."

Coaches Ken Rzepecki and Kevin Rosenquist challenged the students to explore a sport that most of them had never tried before. "We really appreciate the Blackhawks and Johnny's Ice House going out of their way to serve our students," Lynch added. "I cannot say enough good things about them."

"This facility is much more than a rink. It is also a tool for us to give back to the community," said Johnny's IceHouse owner Tom Moro. "Getting the chance to introduce kids to ice skating and hockey that might never get the chance is very rewarding to us. It is great to see what Matt Lynch and his faculty are doing with these students. They are respectful and attentive to our staff and to coaches Ken Rzepecki and Kevin Rosenquist. Each student has improved tremendously. It is a real pleasure for us to provide this opportunity to Chicago Jesuit Academy.”

Current Chicago Blackhawks Cam Barker, Rene Bourque and Dustin Byfuglien will provide on ice instruction and hand out "diplomas" to each student during the events at Johnny’s Ice House. Media are encouraged to arrive at the Ice House for all activities, beginning at 1:00 P.M.