By Jenelyn Russo
Special to AnaheimDucks.com
Tuesday’s Anaheim Ducks rookie camp welcomed some special guests, as students from Hermosa Drive Elementary in Fullerton stopped by The Rinks - Anaheim Ice to watch the Ducks prospects.
The fifth- and sixth-graders from one of the Anaheim Ducks partner schools sat in the stands as prospects like Nick Ritchie, Shea Theodore and Stefan Noesen worked to impress the Ducks coaching staff in preparation for the upcoming season and the start of the club’s main training camp, which begins Friday.
The 26 students in attendance were all former participants in the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Street Hockey program at their school, a free 10-day physical education curriculum for fourth-graders the Ducks provide to local partner schools. The school is also an annual participant in the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Street Hockey Shootout, a one-day street hockey tournament held at Honda Center each spring for schools that participate in the program.
|“Many of these kids didn’t have any experience with hockey before participating in the Ducks’ Street Hockey program, but they’ve been so enthusiastic about it and have learned so much,” said Stanislaw. “Having the rink on our campus has been great, and some of these kids are moving on to play roller hockey.” |
Additionally, Hermosa Drive Elementary was last season’s beneficiary of the Anaheim Ducks and Anaheim Ducks Foundation “Power Play!” program, which provided their campus with upgrades valued at more than $100,000, including a permanent street hockey rink, landscape improvements, painted wall murals and technology equipment for the school’s library.
As the players ran through drills on the ice, the students were given a brief lesson on the science behind different ways to shoot the puck that included a discussion of concepts such as potential energy, kinetic energy and energy transfer.
After practice, the students joined the players for lunch inside the rink’s Club 32, where the kids got a chance to try out their interviewing skills by speaking with the players and gathering information for a class writing assignment.
As a 1:1 technology school, some of the Hermosa Drive students had their iPads with them and utilized voice-to-text apps to document the interviews. From questions such as, “What inspired you to play hockey?” to “If a deli named a signature sandwich after you, what would be on it?” the kids and players had a good time getting to know each other.
“This will allow the students to take the information they learn from the interview and write an article about their experience,” said Hermosa Drive fourth grade teacher, Marcie Stanislaw. “They will be able to incorporate concepts such as primary sourcing, as well as work on their writing mechanics.”
The students’ exposure to street hockey through the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program provided them with the background needed to discuss the sport with the players.
“Many of these kids didn’t have any experience with hockey before participating in the Ducks’ Street Hockey program, but they’ve been so enthusiastic about it and have learned so much,” said Stanislaw. “Having the rink on our campus has been great, and some of these kids are moving on to play roller hockey.”
The chance to be up close with the players was an opportunity the students won’t soon forget.
“I never thought that I’d get to see the Ducks and interview the rookies,” said 11-year old sixth grader, Max Spero. “This whole experience has really been surreal.”
The organization feels these types of interactions are important not only for the students, but for the players as well.
“This is the expectation of Henry and Susan [Samueli], to give back and invest in the community. It starts with them,” said Anaheim Ducks Director of Player Development Todd Marchant. “Our hope is that the players become even more comfortable in these situations. And if you can help put a smile on a kid’s face, it’s worth it.”
While getting to know some of hockey’s future stars was most likely a once-in-a-lifetime chance for these kids, the players thoroughly enjoyed the exchange as well.
“It’s nice to have some lunch with these kids, and it’s great to see that they came prepared with all of the questions,” said Ritchie. “I remember being young like them and getting to see some older hockey players and what a thrill it was.
“It’s good to give back, and it was a fun time.”
For more information on the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program, visit ducksscore.com.