By Jenelyn Russo
Special to AnaheimDucks.com
More than 350 fourth grade students representing 24 local elementary schools gathered at Honda Center over the weekend to take part in the ninth annual Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Street Hockey Shootout.
The tournament is the final event of the club’s S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education) street hockey program, in which approximately 4,500 fourth graders at 45 schools in Southern California use the program’s physical education curriculum to learn and play street hockey on their school campuses.
With family members, friends and Wild Wing on hand to cheer on the participants, the day-long event began with a series of round-robin games across eight rinks and then moved to elimination rounds en route to naming a new S.C.O.R.E. Cup champion.
From the semifinal round, Fairmont Private School in North Tustin earned their first ever trip to the S.C.O.R.E. Cup championship, edging Serra Catholic School of Rancho Santa Margarita in a shootout to advance to the final game.
|“It’s always fun when the kids pick up the sticks and just start having a blast with something they’ve never done before, and just take to loving it immediately. And watching them work so hard and then come here and get the crowning jewel, it’s so fun to watch them be so excited.” |
They faced off against Davis Magnet School of Costa Mesa, who made their return to this year’s championship game after winning the S.C.O.R.E. Cup in 2014, defeating Saddleback Valley Christian School of San Juan Capistrano.
Davis Magnet was up 2-0 for most of the first half, but Fairmont North Tustin got on the board with a goal of their own in the period’s final seconds, making it a 2-1 game going into the break.
But in the second half it was all Davis Magnet, who kept Fairmont North Tustin off the score sheet and added two more tallies for a final score of 4-1, securing the school’s second S.C.O.R.E. Cup championship in three years.
“It’s always fun when the kids pick up the sticks and just start having a blast with something they’ve never done before, and just take to loving it immediately,” said Davis Magnet head coach, Scott Campbell. “And watching them work so hard and then come here and get the crowning jewel, it’s so fun to watch them be so excited.”
A parent and volunteer coach, Campbell is in his fifth year as head coach of the school’s street hockey team and with the exception of one player, worked with a group of fourth graders who had no prior hockey experience. He and his assistant coaches started at square one, teaching the kids the basics, such as how to hold a hockey stick.
“When you see kids who want to [play street hockey], and have never done it before, coming to practice…and working so hard, that’s when it’s most enjoyable,” said Campbell of this year’s team. “So many of these kids took it to a level we had never even seen before in practice.”
Serra Catholic defeated Saddleback Valley Christian for third place, while Maranatha Christian Academy of Santa Ana finished in the top spot of the Consolation Bracket with their win over Mission Hills Christian of Rancho Santa Margarita.
The tournament culminated with an awards ceremony, where participants from the top finishing schools were presented with medals. S.C.O.R.E. Shootout Champion Davis Magnet was awarded a championship banner along with the S.C.O.R.E. Cup, which will be engraved with the players’ names and given to the school to keep until next year’s tournament. The team members will also receive special recognition at a Ducks game next season.
|“I can’t say enough about what the Ducks do here with this program. And it’s not just today. They go out to the schools, they give you all the equipment you need, all the support that you need. It’s a total package. It’s just phenomenal. And you can see how it’s paying dividends, because now all of these people are hockey fans.” |
Ten-year-old Memphis Day was named the tournament MVP and received a framed Ducks jersey autographed by the team. The Davis Magnet player used his five years of ice hockey experience to contribute 12 goals during his team’s championship run.
“I felt really good,” Day said. “I felt that we came into [the final game] playing hard. I felt that we’d have to take a step up to play this team, and we did, so we won.”
The S.C.O.R.E. program reaches 30,000 students at 300 local schools each year through several education, health and physical fitness initiatives, such as the street hockey program. Funded by the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, participating schools are provided full sets of street hockey equipment, instructor training and a 10-day curriculum, all at no cost.
“I can’t say enough about what the Ducks do here with this program,” Campbell said. “And it’s not just today. They go out to the schools, they give you all the equipment you need, all the support that you need. It’s a total package. It’s just phenomenal. And you can see how it’s paying dividends, because now all of these people are hockey fans.”
For more information on the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program, visit ducksscore.com.