GLENDALE -- As part of the team's ongoing efforts to help grow hockey in the state of Arizona, the Coyotes are donating $1,500 worth of Coyotes branded street hockey equipment to more than 300 schools in Maricopa and Pima counties in 2018-19.
It's all part of a master plan to introduce the sport to more children in the region through a street hockey PE curriculum for schools, created by the Coyotes in conjunction with the NHL, the NHLPA and the League's Industry Growth Fund.
"Whenever we go to schools and run our day-long clinics there, the kids always enjoy themselves," said Matt Shott, the team's Director of Hockey Development. "That's because for a lot of them, hockey is a brand new sport. Now, through this curriculum, we will reach over three times as many kids and introduce them to our great sport. The drills we provide as part of the curriculum focus on a lot of the fun aspects of the game, so we're confident this program will be effective and help us continue growing the game."
The Coyotes street hockey PE curriculum will be added to 200 new schools in 2019-20 and 200 more schools in 2020-21. In total, the program will eventually reach approximately 700 schools and more than 500,000 students in grades K-8.
"One of our core pillars as an organization is to positively impact our community," team President and CEO Ahron Cohen said. "We see our street hockey PE curriculum as an opportunity to promote youth health and wellness by exposing the kids to hockey at an early age. We also see this as a great chance for us to teach kids - particularly kids who maybe haven't previously been exposed to hockey - to learn the game, develop an affinity for the sport, and become a hockey fan for life. We're grateful for the incredible support that we have received from all the Valley school districts and look forward to a great partnership in the future."
The Coyotes always receive a warm welcome when they go to schools to stage hockey clinics, and the students quickly embrace the game. Hence, the idea to create the curriculum was born.
"We are proud to make this investment into our community so we can look back five and 10 years from now and see a long list of great hockey players coming out of Arizona who grew up playing hockey because of the opportunities this program provided to them," Cohen said.
During the 2018-19 NHL season, the Coyotes PE curriculum will reach approximately 200,000 kids in the following school districts:
• Mesa Public Schools
• Washington Elementary School District
• Chandler Unified School District
• Glendale Elementary School District
• Creighton Elementary School
• Balsz School District
• Tolleson Elementary District
• Laveen Elementary School District
• Phoenix Elementary School District
• Alhambra Elementary School District
• Kyrene School District
• Tempe Elementary School District
• Scottsdale Elementary School District
• Various Tucson School Districts
• Gilbert Elementary School District
• Pensar Academy
EDITOR'S NOTE: School districts interested in participating in the Coyotes PE Street Hockey curriculum should contact Matt Shott, the team's Director of Hockey Development, at email@example.com.