Dustin Sproat, a professional hockey player and ’06 graduate of Princeton University, has many passions. Throughout his youth, Sproat spent years developing his hockey skills, which he brought to Princeton as a four-year member of the varsity hockey team. Graduating in 2006 with a Chemical Engineering degree, Sproat took a brief break from hockey to work as a chemical engineer for Keyera Energy in Calgary. However, he could not give up his passion for hockey so, beginning in 2008, Sproat relaunched his hockey career as a member of the Fresno Falcons, where PU alums Daryl Marcoux ’07, Grant Goeckner-Zoeller ’07, and Kyle Hagel ’08 were all playing
Playing professional hockey means being on the road a great deal of the time, so Sproat made a commitment to become involved in the communities in which he was living. Together with many of his previous teammates, including NHL veterans and PU alums Jeff Halpern ’99, George Parros ’03, and Darroll Powe ’07, Sproat began to seek out public service opportunities in his local community. When the Falcons folded halfway through the 2008-09 season, Sproat and his teammates were spread across the country, but their commitment to involvement in their local communities remained. In March 2009, Sproat along with 6 other PU alums came together to cofound Hockey Players for Kids (HP4K), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping professional hockey players positively impact the communities they play in by connecting players with kids in their communities.
Beginning with just 10 co-founders in five cities, HP4K now features 70 members in more than 25 cities worldwide. HP4K has had a wide-reaching impact, starting with “Stick to Reading,” an incentive-based reading competition for elementary and middle school students in which the winners can play floor hockey with professional hockey players. Other initiatives include “Give Moore for the Holidays” and involvement with local afterschool programs, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Many of the programs are initiated by the players themselves, which gives them the opportunity to take ownership for the meaningful work they are doing.
Sproat has served as HP4K’s Executive Director while playing hockey for the Cincinnati Cyclones. He spends much of his time following, promoting, and encouraging HP4K activities, as well as initiating community service opportunities in Cincinnati. As a hockey player, PU graduate, and person committed to community involvement, Sproat serves as an example of a person who combined his passions into a public service initiative that is meaningful and far-reaching.
HP4K is currently looking for a new Executive Director. Click here for a link to the job description.