The National Hockey League joined with leaders of local sports organizations Saturday to announce they’ll donate $300,000 to help build a Dorchester field house, a project led by two local nonprofits, the Martin Richard Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester.
Planned for a site across the street from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester’s Walter Denney Youth Center, the field house will aim to serve more than 50,000 young people who live in the area, according to organizers of a community event Saturday sponsored by the NHL’s Legacy philanthropic initiative.
The space will include a theater, a kitchen, field courts, play courts, and hard courts for local kids and families. Construction is set to start next summer and be completed by the fall of 2024, organizers said.
Overall, the project will cost about $60 million dollars, and its sponsors have begun raising money from a range of public and philanthropic sources. Their aim is to raise $30 million by next spring.
“We have raised $17 million to date, including $5 million in state funding and $1 million in federal funding,” Emilee Regan, a spokesperson for the Martin Richard Foundation, said in an e-mail. “We still have a ways to go toward our goal, and today’s announcement not only helps with fundraising but also raising awareness to a broader community of potential donors.”
The Legacy initiative coincides with the 10th anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, when 8-year-old Martin Richard was among three people killed near the Marathon’s finish line in 2013. Bill Richard, Martin’s father, cofounded the Martin Richard Foundation in 2014 to advance his son’s “values of sportsmanship, inclusion, kindness and peace,” according to an NHL statement.
At a Saturday event, Richard said three of Martin’s friends will be running the 2023 Marathon in his memory.
Martin was “a kid that liked to play hard but cared about others, that would want to get the first goal, but would want to make sure his friends got the second and third goal,” Richard said. “I think we all know the world just needs a little more kindness and respect, and he kind of got that at a young age.”
The field house will be the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester’s fourth location. The organization intends to provide full access to the space and free memberships to about 1,000 students from nearby Boston Public Schools.
Bob Scannell, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, said the facility will cater to all ages, with an emphasis on teenagers.
“I have had a good friendship with Bill Richard for many years, even prior to that awful tragedy [the death of his son],” Scannell said. “Partnering with [his family] is inspirational.”
The 2023 game between the Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins will be played Boston for the first time since 2010. It will be also a celebration of the 110-year-old Fenway Park’s status as an iconic sports monument.
The Legacy is an NHL initiative through which the league partners with a local club to support community organizations in the host city of an NHL event.
As part of the effort, the Boston Bruins, the Boston Bruins Foundation, the Boston Red Sox, and the Red Sox Foundation donated $75,000 each for the construction of the Dorchester field house, said former Bruins goaltender Andrew Raycroft , the opening speaker at Saturday’s event.
The Bruins were in season at the time of the bombing. They were one the first teams to play after the incident, accompanied by the Penguins. Both teams wore jerseys with patches of Boston’s “617″ area code and a “Boston Strong” blue and yellow ribbon during the game in memory of the victims of the event. The items were later auctioned and the proceeds donated to “The One Fund Boston,” which raised money to help families most affected by the bombing.
Since 2018, TD Garden and the Boston Bruins Foundation have partnered with the Martin Richard Foundation for a “A Run for Gratitude” to support the Martin Richard Foundation.
The Martin Richard Foundation has been “a core partner of ours for the last 10 years and will be for years to come,” said Bob Sweeney, president of the Boston Bruins Foundation. “To see hopefully what [the field house] will look like in a few years will be amazing.”
Isabela Rocha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.