Hockey Sticks Are Being Used to Create Oyster Reefs in Florida

Researches with the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) are using broken hockey sticks to build marine ecosystems that resemble natural coral reefs.

Broken hockey sticks and reducing water pollution may seem unrelated. However, there is a nexus between the two —

Florida Gulf Coast University’s hockey players and their coach, Bob Wasno, have created a program that converts broken sticks into artificial reefs.

If you’ve ever watched a hockey game, you know that hockey players break a lot of the 3.2 million sticks that are made every year. But have you ever wondered what happens to all those broken sticks? You’d like to think they’re recycled, but you’d be wrong. Sticks are made out of a carbon-composite material, and non-recyclable. These sticks go right from the ice into a dumpster and out to landfills.

Rink2Reef has already made 45 artificial reefs from the sticks to help restore oyster habitats. The reefs can each hold around 400 oysters.

“What we’ve done is we’ve taken these broken hockey sticks and we’ve repurposed them, built these simple link-and-log structures,” Bob Wasno, resource coordinator at FGCU’s Vester Marine and Environmental Sciences Research Field Station, told WINK. “And with these link-and-log structures tethered on our local docks, oysters are able to grow all over this vast area.”

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and the National Hockey League (NHL) are committed to the Rink2Reef Oyster Habitats Waterways Restoration Program. By collecting broken hockey sticks from hockey rinks everywhere and using them to build oyster reefs and habitats we restore stable ecosystems along our coastal waterways and improve water quality.

These reefs or habitats can be deployed under docks of businesses, marinas, yacht or boat clubs, private citizens homes, or parks and recreation facilities. Reefs need to be well secured to a sturdy anchored water fixture, making docks the optimal environment. Sticks are found from the NHL, NCAA hockey teams, American Collegiate Hockey Association clubs, high school hockey teams, local hockey clubs, kids’ hockey leagues, and anyone else who plays hockey and breaks sticks.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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