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Bradley, Kozlov and Evason bring Hockey School to Gunston Middle School

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals forwards Matt Bradley and Viktor Kozlov and assistant coach Dean Evason brought the Caps Hockey School program to Gunston Middle School in Arlington, Va., on Monday, Feb. 11. A new community-relations initiative launched this season by the Capitals, Hockey School brings instructional floor hockey sessions to local middle school students.

Evason, Bradley and Kozlov were greeted by a spirited group of 80 sixth-grade students in the gymnasium of Gunston Middle School. Bradley and Kozlov answered questions from students and teachers on the number of championships they have won, what other sports they play and what they would do if they were not playing hockey.

After facilitating the question-and-answer session, Evason moved to the skills portion of the Hockey School session. He began by explaining proper hand positioning on the shaft of the stick before asking Bradley and Kozlov to stickhandle for the audience. Students were then called up to practice their stickhandling. Evason provided instruction on passing and shooting, with Bradley and Kozlov demonstrating the appropriate skills for success in these areas. Students had the opportunity to test their passing and shooting abilities, while getting pointers from the three Caps.

During the session students and teachers also watched as Bradley and Kozlov competed in a shooting contest. Half of the students were designated for the Bradley cheering section and the other for the Kozlov cheering section. The students applauded and screamed as Kozlov hit all four targets before Bradley, making him victorious.

Hockey School wrapped up with a brief scrimmage where one group of students played with Bradley and the other was assigned to play with Kozlov. Both players remained defensive and close to their respective goals, making necessary saves and key passes to their teammates.

Before leaving the students and teachers applauded Evason, Bradley and Kozlov for the floor hockey lesson and were excited to learn that the equipment used during Hockey School would be donated to Gunston Middle School. This equipment included sticks, goalie pads, goalie masks, goalie sticks, catchers, blockers, chest protectors, balls and goals. The donated equipment will allow the students to practice what they learned about floor hockey during future physical education classes.

All students who participated in the session received autographs from Bradley and Kozlov, as well as foam pucks to designate them as graduates of Hockey School.

This season Hockey School is targeted for middle schools in Arlington Public Schools. With the success of the initiative, Hockey School is intended to expand into additional Washington, D.C., metropolitan area middle schools in seasons to come. Hockey School is designed to be both instructional and interactive, with the goal of exposing students to hockey and teaching proper technique.

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