The Blizzard Foundation was established in the summer of 2016 by Adam Barta, founder of Blizzard Baseball Academy and Head Coach of the Minnesota Blizzard. Establishing a non-profit arm of the organization had always been a goal of Barta's. Knowing that playing for the Blizzard is more than just baseball, it’s a life experience with coaches who care and players who want to get better, Barta wanted to ensure finances were never an obstacle to being a member of the Blizzard family, to allow the Minnesota Blizzard to be a place where, if you are good enough to play, you are playing no matter what. Ironically, it was the loss of a Blizzard family member that propelled Barta into action
John “Johnny” Price IV (1997-2015) had been recognized by his peers as one of the best players and teammates ever to step on the field in a Blizzard uniform. A Division 1 recruit and very talented hitter, Price was a versatile player, manning the outfield and corner infield positions, as well as logging innings as a hard-throwing right hander. At the plate, Price hit in the middle of the order, leading his Blizzard teams to the playoffs in eight separate tournaments, including three championships between 2013-2015.
Price had one of, if not the top, offensive weekends in Blizzard history in the 2015 ScoutStop August Select tournament. Price hit three home runs, including two at Jack Ruhr Field and another in the championship game at CHS Field in St. Paul. Over the course of the tournament, Price went 10-for-16, posting a .625 batting average with 10 RBIs and six runs to go along with the three homers.
While Price’s contributions were clearly valued on the field, what truly made him an MVP was his impact away from the diamond. Price, who was a friend to everyone, was the center of every Blizzard activity from team-building exercises to fun in the hotel and van rides to and from the ballpark. He taught younger players how to play and practice, leading with great effort and an even better attitude. It was the loss of Johnny that spurred Barta to action.
The Blizzard Foundation will create more opportunities for players, award college scholarships to seniors via the Johnny Price Memorial College Scholarship, and provide opportunities to serve the community.