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Ducks Build Street Hockey Rink at Carden Hall in Newport Beach

by Jenelyn Russo / Special to AnaheimDucks.com

The start of the NHL season has brought out the spirit of giving as Carden Hall in Newport Beach became the sixth Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. partner school to receive a street hockey rink on their campus.

The school's student body gathered at their new rink last week as parents, teachers and administrators joined the students in celebrating the official opening of the "Eagles Nest." Ducks radio play-by-play announcer Steve Carroll hosted the opening ceremony, joined by Anaheim Ducks Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Aaron Teats.

A participant in the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education) Program for more than 10 years, Carden Hall has consistently fielded both street hockey and roller hockey teams through the program. The school's fourth graders play annually in the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Street Hockey Shootout Tournament, while their fifth through eighth grade students are a part of three teams in the Ducks i3 Roller Hockey League.

Carroll and Teats spoke of Carden Hall's long-time dedication to the S.C.O.R.E. Program and recognized the school's ongoing passion for growing the sport of hockey. The two presented Carden Hall Director of Academics Jane Jones and Carden Hall Director Kimberly Dablow with a Ducks jersey in appreciation for their years of commitment.

Provided to the school through the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, in conjunction with the Comrie family who donated the rink glass and boards, Carden Hall hopes to use this rink to not only reach their own students but other hockey players in the community as well.

"This will definitely give us more opportunity to play and coach hockey," said Carden Hall physical education teacher and hockey coach, Don Cornell. "It may actually allow us to open up our campus to the community and host hockey tournaments here for other schools that participate in the S.C.O.R.E. Program. So it does open quite a few doors for us, which is great."

Cornell, who is a key part Carden Hall's partnership with the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, had no prior experience with the sport before becoming the school's hockey coach four years ago.

"Before we started working with the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, I knew nothing about hockey, and to be honest, I wasn't really all that interested," Cornell said. "But when I went to my first teaching seminar, I was sold. I started coaching the street hockey team here, and it progressed to the junior high inline teams. And now I just can't get enough of it."

The ceremony concluded with an inaugural ball drop at center court, and then several students played their first street hockey pick-up game on the new rink, including Nick Dubrow and Duncan Needham. The eighth graders are both part of the Carden Hall roller hockey teams that play in the Ducks i3 Roller Hockey League.

"I'm very grateful that this school has given me a chance to play hockey because it's actually changed my life," said 13-year old Dubrow. "I love the sport. It's very fun."

Both Dubrow and Needham got their start in hockey in fourth grade while playing for Carden Hall's street hockey team. Neither had any experience playing hockey before participating in the school program. Now, in addition to representing the Eagles in the Ducks i3 Roller Hockey League, both are playing ice hockey, with Dubrow on an in-house recreational team through The Rinks and Needham as a member of the Jr. Ducks.

"I'm really grateful because playing became really fun for me," Needham said. "I had no idea it would be that much fun. It really got me into hockey."

Cornell recognizes the impact the street and roller hockey curriculum has on the kids' physical education experience, exposing the students to a new sport they likely otherwise would not try.

"The ultimate goal as a physical educator is to give students experiences that they may not ever get the chance to experience other than in P.E," Cornell said. "So having the Ducks come out and teach me how to play hockey, and me turning around and teaching the students and seeing them progress the way that they have has been amazing. I love to hear the stories that have come from our school about these students who started out and had never even held a stick in their hands before, and now they're playing on a Jr. Ducks ice hockey team."

Additionally, Cornell acknowledged that the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program impacts more than just the school's physical education curriculum, but inside the classroom as well. Carden Hall has utilized several S.C.O.R.E. STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiatives to enhance their science and math education. And he believes that the support the Ducks provide local educators will impact the region for years to come.

"To have an organization care so much about the community that they're in, and the owners, the Samuelis, to be so invested, it's amazing to see a professional sports team be so committed this way," Cornell said. "You don't just see the Ducks in the schools, you see them everywhere spreading hockey. Without them, hockey would not be where it is today in Southern California. It's just been an amazing journey partnering with the Ducks."

For more information on the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, visit ducksscore.com.

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