Last week, Crossroads Christian School in Corona became the latest Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. partner school to receive a street hockey rink on their campus.
Clad in orange t-shirts, the Crossroads Christian student body gathered at their new rink as Ducks TV color analyst Brian Hayward hosted the opening ceremony for Coach Comfort Arena, named in honor of Diana Comfort, a retired Crossroads Christian teacher who was instrumental in developing the school's partnership with the Ducks.
A long-time participant in the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education) Program, including the Street Hockey curriculum, as well as the Anaheim Ducks i3 Roller Hockey League, Crossroads Christian received this rink, the fourth of its kind to be built, as a part of an ongoing effort by the Ducks to promote the growth of hockey and physical education initiatives through the building of street hockey rinks on the campuses of participating schools.
"If you know anything about Henry and Susan Samueli and their commitment to community, STEM-based programming and teaching the sport of hockey, it's all on display here today," said Ducks Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Aaron Teats. "We have a terrific S.C.O.R.E. school that has been with us for years, and now we're able to put a rink here where they can play hockey all the time. It's a perfect example of intentionally growing the sport of hockey in Southern California."
Not only were members of Crossroads Christian School's administration on hand for the ceremony, but representatives from the City of Corona, the Corona Chamber of Commerce and the Corona-Norco Unified School District were in attendance as well. City of Corona Vice Mayor, Dick Haley, presented the school with a Gold Award, recognizing the addition of the rink as an asset to the entire city. Plans for the rink will allow it to be utilized by students from other local area S.C.O.R.E. schools, including St. Edward School and Corona Ranch Elementary. The rink will also be available for use by city residents through Corona's Recreation Services.
"We perceive this gift from the Anaheim Ducks as a gift to the city of Corona and the kids in the area," said Crossroads Christian Superintendent of Schools, Doug Husen.
To close out the assembly, Crossroads Christian teachers and administrators were joined at center rink by Wild Wing and Ducks prospects Kevin Roy and Jaycob Megna for a ceremonial ball drop. Students then grabbed their sticks and played the first of many street hockey games on their new rink.
Twelve- year old Evan Ryan has represented Crossroads Christian in the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Street Hockey Shootout Tournament, along with playing two seasons in the Ducks i3 Roller Hockey League, and is appreciative of how his favorite hockey team supports athletics at community schools.
"I'm very grateful," said Evan. "I've been a fan for a long time, so the fact that we were able to play with the S.C.O.R.E. and i3 programs was a real honor."
Evan's younger sister, Madisyn, a fifth grader at Crossroads Christian, will be following in her brother's skates by playing in the Ducks i3 Roller Hockey League this year. The 10-year old goaltender is looking forward to getting in some practice sessions on her school campus.
"It's really cool to have this rink here. I'm so excited," she said. "I'll definitely be able to play and practice more often."
Fourth grade teacher at Crossroads Christian, Jessica Kubik, has seen first hand how the school's participation in the Ducks annual S.C.O.R.E. Street Hockey Shootout Tournament held each spring at Honda Center has given her fourth graders another option for physical education.
"It's been awesome," said Kubik. "The kids have been able to be introduced to another sport that isn't normally as recognized or as popular. Many of my students otherwise would never be exposed to hockey. The Ducks' programs give them that chance."
Beyond the physical education benefits, Crossroads Christian is grateful for their partnership with the Ducks through the S.C.O.R.E. Program as it aligns with many aspects of the school's mission, including strong academics and character development.
"The things the Ducks care about, we care about," said Husen. "To have a professional team who would take interest in young people like this really activates kids into the sport of hockey, which is growing so fast for us. We're thrilled and thankful for this opportunity."
For more information on the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, visit ducksscore.com.