By Miranda Baker
The Calgary Flames welcomed 21 junior reporters to the Pengrowth Saddledome Wednesday afternoon for a press conference hosted by the Flames and sponsor Cardel Homes.
Grade 5 and 6 students from West Dover Elementary School got a once in a life-time opportunity to interview Matthew Lombardi and delivered some hard-hitting questions to the speedy forward.
"The kids were really impressive, and they asked some pretty thoughtful questions," said Lombardi. "I think they did a really good job, and it was good that they got to experience this."
Although a number of students asked the 24-year-old questions about his personal life and what he enjoys doing for fun, Lombardi did face some hard questions concerning the Flames recent play, Yelle's injury and the lockout.
But Lombardi took each students' question in stride, although he was thrown off when one junior reporter asked him what he was going to do when he retired.
"I was stumped a little bit. I hadn't really thought about that, so it made me kind of think a little bit," added Lombardi.
For the most part, participants were in awe of Lombardi, but came prepared none the less.
"This whole experience was about meeting Matthew Lombardi and learning how to take notes if we were going to be a journalist," said junior reporter Chris Rothery. "It was really cool meeting him and was the first time I had ever seen a Flames player."
Lombardi signed each of the students' notebooks, as well as a Flames jersey that was donated to West Dover Elementary.
Cardel Kidcasters, which is a partnership between Cardel Homes and Bowes Knows Sports, was originally created back in 2000 when CTV reporter Lisa Bowes was in Toronto. The program was re-launched in Calgary in March of 2006, giving students the opportunity to interview the Calgary Hitmen, Calgary Vipers and most recently the Calgary Stampeders. This was the first time the Flames had participated in the program.
According to Bowes, students learn valuable skills through in class and field trip assignments.
"I think it's important because at this age the kids need to be exposed to different things outside of school, so they can get a better appreciation of what's ahead for them," commented Bowes.
"And I think it's also good for them to understand the importance of writing."
Students who partake in Cardel Kidcasters usually are in middle school, but Wednesday's group of students was the youngest to date.
Participants in Cardel Kidcasters get first hand experience in the world of Broadcasting, focusing on not only their writing skills, but their public speaking skills as well. The first half of the program centers around an on-camera writing assignment where students are given a deadline and then present it in an oral presentation.
The second half of the program focuses around the students interviewing skills. Junior reporters have the opportunity to cover a local sports team in a press conference setting. Students are then required to take the information gathered at the press conference and write a longer on-camera assignment.