The East Side Youth Sports Foundation (ESYSF) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of youth sports on the eastside of metro Detroit. ESYSF was founded in 2014 as East Side Hockey Foundation to support the growth of youth hockey in the community. The Foundation acquired the local ice arena, located in Detroit, and renamed it the East Side Hockey Ice Arena. The vision was to not only establish an updated facility, but revitalize the area and become a partner with the local community to provide neighborhood and underprivileged boys and girls with the opportunity to play hockey. In late 2015, given the response of the community, with our over 50% growth in hockey alone, and realizing the substantial need to grow and sustain all youth sports on the Eastside, the East Side Hockey Foundation transitioned into the East Side Youth Sports Foundation. This change significantly expanded the Foundation’s programs and services as well as the number of children served, growing the program from just under 200 hundred children, to over 1000 per year served today. ESYSF provides grants, scholarships, equipment, subsidized ice and field time, as well as access to the opportunity for free play and local organized sport's teams, working in partnership with many local programs. In 2015 the program had less than 300 children participating mostly from areas around the city of Detroit. The goal has been to grow hockey throughout the Detroit areas surrounding the rink. This initiative has been a part of a coordinated effort with USA Hockey and the NHL. The desire is to increase the amount of under privileged, low income children in youth hockey. Since our inception we have been able to cultivate relationships with a number of neighborhood organizations and churches within the city of Detroit including Morningside community, East English Village, Cornerstone Community Advocates, the Center for Success and Eagle Sports/Grace Community Church Detroit. By partnering with these communities and organizations, we have been able to provide hockey, and additional sports camps to underprivileged children that may not have the opportunity to sample sports, participate in free play and have the opportunity to join an organized sports team. The Bulldogs Hockey Club was originally the Grosse Pointe Hockey Association formed in 1962 and has been a community fixture for providing area youth an opportunity to participate in an exciting, challenging sport while emphasizing camaraderie, sportsmanship and fun. In 2016 the foundation took over ownership of the hockey club and changed the name to the East Side Bulldogs Hockey Club to create an atmosphere of inclusion for the non Grosse Pointe Communities. With 400+ members and 14 teams participating in Travel, House, Learn to Play and Learn to Skate programs. BHC provides a competitive environment of learning and good sportsmanship at all skill levels for both boys and girls in the sport of hockey. Specifically, our 8U program is where we work to provide as many underprivileged children from Detroit and the surrounding communities as we can. Our eight and under (8U) learn to play hockey and learn to skate programs were revamped in 2015 under the ESYS Foundation and has grown by 25% each year. We have been able to diversify all of our hockey programs, but most notably the 8U age group has grown by more than 20% in the area of ethnic diversity, supporting under privileged children. ESYSF, accordance with our generous donors have been able to award $124,000 in scholarship dollars which have benefitted 132 under privileged children. Through generous donations to our 501c3, and the reinvestment of ice fees proceeds back into rink, ESH Ice Arena has been transformed from a rink in severe decline, to a rink our community can be proud of. We have been able to complete over $1,000,000 improvements benefitting our children and community, including a new roof and dehumidifier, upgraded lobby, concessions, stands and pro shop. Replaced dasher boards, broken safety glass and rubber flooring. We have applied Fresh paint throughout the rink, including critical support infrastructure, and have also replaced the original old failing Zamboni. Most notably, we have invested an additional $300,000 updating our refrigeration system from a Freon to Ammonia base. This has allowed us to comply with new FDA regulations, as well as provide a safer and more efficient rink for the future.

The Foundation also hosts “Try Hockey for Free” days at the arena providing children the opportunity to step on the ice and experience the wonders of hockey. Equipment and jerseys are provided at no charge. If a child would like to continue to play and the family is unable to afford hockey equipment, the Foundation will provide funding for the equipment. Over 500 sets of equipment have been provided to children ages 3-8 in the Learn to Play Hockey 8U program.  In addition to the physical benefits, children experience numerous advantages from playing hockey including lessons in discipline, sportsmanship and teamwork. The Foundation believes in the importance of providing all children the opportunity to play hockey. Through our generous donors, the Bulldogs Hockey Club also provides scholarships to assist low-income families with hockey costs.  For more information please visit the Bulldogs Hockey Club website at www.bulldogshockeyclub.org.



East Side Youth Sports Foundation has been fortunate enough to receive support from the following partners:

  • Community Foundation of SE Michigan Recipient 2 yrs in a row ($20K)
  • 2023-24 $15000 Amazon Equipment Grant
  • Illitch Charities ($30K)
  • DTE Foundation ($10K)
  • Leonard W. Smith Foundation. ($2500/yr. for 3 years)
  • GPOD (now assumed by ESYSF) ($20K for 5 yrs)
  • Gifford Scholarship Account ($20K)
  • McSorley Scholarship Account (5 years of supporting anywhere btw 5-15 kids per year)


  • Board Sign Sponsors
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Dick's Sporting Goods
  • Sine & Monaghan
  • DeSeranno Wealth Planning
  • Lucido Real Estate
  • Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
  • Dr. Hummon & Dr. Gebeck
  • DMC Sports Medicine
  • Grosse Pointe Academy