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Gordon, Cooke and Evason Teach Hockey School at Kenmore Middle School

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals forwards Boyd Gordon and Matt Cooke and assistant coach Dean Evason took the Caps Hockey School on the road again, this time stopping at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Va. A new community-relations initiative launched this season by the Capitals, Hockey School brings instructional floor hockey sessions to local middle school students. On Thursday Monday, Feb. 11, the trio conducted a Hockey School session for 100 sixth-grade students in the Kenmore Middle School gymnasium.

Evason, Gordon and Cooke began the session with introductions and questions. The Capitals players were asked which countries hockey had taken them to, have they ever gotten into a fight or had to apologize for fighting, what kind of cars they drive and when did they start playing hockey. An exciting question from one student resulted in Cooke taking out and showing the students his false teeth. 

The session continued with stick handling, passing and shooting drills. Gordon and Cooke demonstrated these skills for the audience, while Evason provided the verbal instructions. After each demonstration students came down to the floor to practice what they learned. The students received pointers from Gordon, Cooke and Evason on how to improve their stick work, passing skills and shooting technique.

Evason also facilitated a shooting competition between Gordon and Cooke where the players had to hit the top corners of the goal. To make it more difficult, Cooke slid hockey sticks through the netting to make triangles out of each of the top corners. Half the sixth-grade students cheered for Gordon while the other half rooted for Cooke. Gordon came out on top and the entire student audience poured on the cheers.

Hockey School concluded with a brief scrimmage. It was a close game for Gordon and the boys versus Cooke and the girls. But Cooke’s team pulled out the victory.

Before leaving the students thanked Evason, Gordon and Cooke for the floor hockey lesson and presented them with Kenmore Middle School sweatshirts as token of their appreciation. At that time, the students and teachers learned that the equipment they used, including sticks, goalie pads, goalie masks, goalie sticks, catchers, blockers, chest protectors, balls and goals, would be donated to their school. The donated equipment will allow the students to practice their floor hockey skills during future physical education classes.

All students who participated in the session received autographs from Gordon and Cooke, as well as foam pucks to designate them as graduates of Hockey School and a starter pack of Capitals trading cards.

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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