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Lake Erie Monsters

Pro hockey has always been a harder sell than it should be in snowy Northeast Ohio, and a minor-league team has to work twice as hard. The Lake Erie Monsters (affiliated with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche) do that and then some, regularly reaching out to youth-hockey programs across the region with ticket vouchers, player and mascot appearances and coach- and player-led clinics for young players. A couple of times each season, the whole team practices at a local rink, and the exhausted players then spend another hour or so signing autographs for the next generation. Pro teams are really good at taking — Build us arenas! Buy our seat licenses! Shell out $7 for a beer! — so it's refreshing to see one go to great lengths to give back. (lakeeriemonsters.com) — Lewis

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