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Retired Mich. firefighter uses hockey to mentor inner-city kids

Retired Flint Firefighter Rico Phillips delivers life lessons while teaching kids how to play ice hockey

By Bill Carey

FLINT, Mich. — Rico Phillips, a retired Flint firefighter, has spent over a decade helping kids learn hockey through his nonprofit, Flint Inner City Youth Hockey.

Phillips, the founder of the nonprofit, teaches Flint kids aged 7 to 12 how to skate and play hockey, WDIV reported.

“Most kids here in Flint don’t identify with ice hockey, and so, we know that if we get them on the ice, and we teach them the skills of ice skating and eventually the skills of playing hockey, it’s a skill that nobody can take from them,” Phillips said.

When Phillips played hockey as a child, he rarely saw others who looked like him.

Phillips had a dream of providing others with the same opportunity he received later in life, but he wanted to offer it to them earlier.

“I certainly hope as many kids that can play hockey will play hockey,” Phillips said. “I guess I am just a realist to know they won’t be able to. There are a lot of barriers that are still involved. We help our kids get through some of those barriers.”

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