"It’s really fun to go out there and play hockey with them and try to inspire them to play sports, (whether) it’s hockey, soccer, whatever it is, and keep active.”
Members of the gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team Kendall Coyne (Palos Heights, Ill.), Kali Flanagan (Burlington, Mass.) and Alex Rigsby(Delafield, Wis.), and captain of the gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) have been announced as 2017-18 athlete ambassadors for the U.S. Olympic Committee's Team for Tomorrow program.
Team for Tomorrow launched in 2008 to provide a vehicle for Team USA athletes to serve their communities, offer their assistance and support to those in need, and continue spreading the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect.
Coyne, Flanagan, Pauls and Rigsby join as part of the program's sixth class of athlete ambassadors, which includes thirteen athletes from 9 sports serving as philanthropic representatives for the 2018 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams that competed in PyeongChang, South Korea. The program goal is to spread the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle, and lead the way through volunteerism and goodwill.
"Being an ambassador for the Team For Tomorrow program is so important to me because it is the opportunity to inspire kids to follow their dreams like I did mine," said two-time Olympic medalist Coyne. "Whether their dreams be in sports, music, art or other things, being able to stand in front them and talk about the adversities I have faced to get to where I am today shows the kids it is possible to accomplish anything they set their mind to. In addition, the school receives new gym equipment which helps the kids live a healthy and active lifestyle in their school environment."
The athlete ambassadors have made visits to local schools and clubs over the past few months, gave inspirational talks to students and young athletes, and donated boxes of brand new sporting goods on behalf of the program. Flanagan and Pauls each visited Boys and Girls Clubs in their communities, while Coyne visited an elementary school in her hometown and Rigsby stopped by Ice Hockey in Harlem, an organization dedicated to improving the wellbeing of kids in Harlem through ice hockey.
"It’s awesome to be able to share the journey it took to get to this moment with all of these kids," said U.S. goaltender Rigsby. "It’s really fun to go out there and play hockey with them and try to inspire them to play sports, (whether) it’s hockey, soccer, whatever it is, and keep active.”