As a child in Toronto, Canada, Washington Capitals alumnus Ken Sabourin enjoyed cold winters.
“There used to be ice on the street all winter long,” Sabourin recently explained to 200 Stone Mill Elementary School students. “We’d have snow banks on the sides of the roads and that’s what we used as our rinks to play hockey every day.”
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A defenseman with the Capitals for two seasons, Sabourin was at Stone Mill Elementary for a Capitals Hockey School.
Hockey School is a free instructional and interactive program that aims to expose students to floor hockey while teaching proper technique.
Sabourin, who began skating at age three and playing organized hockey at age four, encouraged children at the North Potomac, Md., school to play the sport as an outlet for their energy.
“It’s not as hard as you think once you practice,” said Sabourin. “Once you learn how to practice, once you learn how to skate, how to handle the puck a little bit – you can do it.”
Currently in his ninth year as a radio analyst for the Capitals Radio Network, Sabourin played professional hockey for 13 years.
During the assembly he used his experience in the NHL to teach students about stickhandling, passing and shooting before playing in a scrimmage with them.
Following the scrimmage, the Capitals donated a set of street hockey equipment to Stone Mill.
“We had a good time, good turnout – a lot of people here,” said Sabourin. “The kids did a nice job getting involved. A lot of atmosphere, too, which is good. The kids seemed to really enjoy it.”
The visit marked the fifteenth Capitals Hockey School assembly of the 2012-13 academic year, while the 2012-13 season marks the sixth consecutive year the Capitals have conducted their Hockey School program. The Capitals have hosted more than 80 clinics and reached more than 10,000 students through Caps Hockey School.