A partnership between Trine University and the Dekko Foundation will offer children and teens the opportunity to develop athletic and leadership
skills through participation in skating and ice hockey. Trine University expects
to hire a youth hockey program director in the very near future, with programming
to begin in August.
The university has received a $2.5 million grant from the Dekko Foundation to develop
youth sports programs in its new Thunder Ice Arena and to aid with the construction
costs of the arena and the MTI Center.
Following the American Development Model set forth by USA Hockey, Trine University and its partners will provide age-appropriate, age-specific programming
that promotes the integration of high-performance cross-ice practices and games into
youth hockey. The new director will lead the development and implementation of a unified
hockey program and work closely with community partners, including the YMCA of Steuben
County and area schools, to develop a long-term vision for the program.
Anyone interested in the youth hockey program director position may apply at trine.edu/careers.
Trine University expects to serve 170 youth in its hockey program and will make its
programming available to youth from all economic backgrounds, with the Dekko Foundation
grant helping provide hockey equipment to participating youth.
“Community partnerships are always important,” commented Tom Leedy, Dekko Foundation
President, “but they are never more critical than in small communities with limited
resources. Through this partnership, we’re adding more opportunities for young people
to participate, lead and find their way in the world.”
“Besides offering exercise, youth sports teach participants important life skills
like self-esteem, teamwork, persistence, problem-solving and communication,” said
Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president. “We are excited to have the
opportunity to develop these skills in area youth, as we have developed them in our
students for well over a century.”
The Thunder Ice Arena also will have hours available for open skating.
“The Thunder Ice Arena and MTI Center will not only benefit Trine University students,
but they will improve the quality of place and quality of life in northeast Indiana,”
said Dr. Rick L. James, chair of Trine University’s board of trustees. “We are grateful
for the partnership of the Dekko Foundation in this effort, and look forward to the
community impact these facilities will have in the days to come.”
Announced in April 2016, the $8.2 million Thunder Ice Arena will feature an NCAA-compliant
ice arena for men’s and women’s hockey teams as well as youth programming. The facility
will also include locker rooms, weight and training rooms, concessions, a pro shop,
and skate sharpening and rental.
Scheduled to open in 2018, the $13.3 million MTI Center will have three basketball
courts, a six-lane bowling alley and esports arena, as well as a fitness center, golf
pro shop, banquet room and training room. The home of Trine’s men’s and women’s basketball
teams, it also will include concessions, an alumni suite and the Trine University
Athletic Hall of Fame.
Based in Kendallville, the Dekko Foundation was established in 1981 by Chester E.
(Chet) Dekko, using the proceeds from his manufacturing business. The mission for
the foundation is to foster economic freedom through education, and the foundation
supports programs that help young people gain skills, knowledge and character that
will prepare them for the kind of life that offers the maximum opportunity for personal
independence and choice.