On August 31, 2021, Jason Payne was named the head coach of the [East Coast Hockey League’s] Cincinnati Cyclones. One of his first initiatives was to create and launch a program that would help to expose kids who might not otherwise have a chance to the great game of hockey. After multiple conversations with Most Valuable Kids of Cincinnati, Payner’s Pals was born.
Throughout the season and in conjunction with Most Valuable Kids, local agencies take part in the Payner’s Pals program. This includes tickets to a game and a post-game meet and greet with Cyclones Head Coach Jason Payne.
Coach Payne had this to say of the program: “Growing up in Toronto, nothing came easy and I had to work for everything. I had to grind day in and day out and make do with the resources around me. I didn’t have the luxury of professional trainers, but I still put in the work. Didn’t have the luxury of my parents to even drive me to the game, but I often took public transit. There were no excuses. It was up to me to make it work – and I did.”