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Learning Made Fun

by Deborah Lew / Los Angeles Kings

In the sport of ice hockey, a player skates on a sheet of frozen water, using a thin steel blade, which allows him to propel a piece of vulcanized rubber with a long angled stick. If that doesn’t have ‘science’ written all over it, then Bailey is not a lion.

On Thursday, March 19, the LA Kings helped unveil a new exhibit called ‘The Science of Hockey’ at the Discovery Cube Los Angeles, which the Kings helped brand, fund, and market. On hand for the Grand Opening of the exhibit were various city dignitaries, LA Kings alumni Daryl Evans, Jim Fox, Sean O’Donnell and Luc Robitaille, Kings mascot Bailey, the Kings Ice Crew, and current Kings forward Tyler Toffoli, who cut the ribbon, officially opening the exhibit.

Also in attendance for the event was the Stanley Cup, which was making its last scheduled appearance on behalf of the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions.

The exhibit, one of the most technically advanced sports-themed exhibits in the world, consumes more than 3,000 square feet of the 71,000 square-foot Discovery Cube, which opened last Fall. The purpose of the exhibit is to provide hands-on, LA Kings-inspired hockey learning with interactive experiences, which will demonstrate the science principles of the fastest game on ice.

The idea to get the Kings involved was on the part of the executive team at the Discovery Cube, and from there they approached the Kings for their input.

“We bit right away,” said Kelly Cheeseman, Chief Operating Officer of AEG Sports. “There wasn’t a better opportunity for us to really put a foothold into the community. A lot of things we’ve done with Kings Care we’ve never had a permanent exhibit anywhere to really have a lasting impact on the community, so this was a perfect opportunity and it impacts kids, and that’s what we wanted.”

The Discovery Science Foundation designers worked closely with Kings representatives as well as BaAM Productions to create as enticing and realistic an experience as possible, that would also be interactive to guests. The first element is an authentic replica of the STAPLES Center players’ tunnel that guests walk in through as they arrive to the property.

Once inside the exhibit, guests have the opportunity to take shots on goalie Jonathan Quick, or block shots from Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty, all in a virtual setting. Guests also have the opportunity to answer math and science trivia, compare old hockey equipment technology to newer technology, digitally design their own jerseys, learn about health and nutrition, and drive the Zamboni, all in a Kings-themed environment.

Toffoli, who had a chance to explore the exhibit following the ribbon-cutting, was among the first to test out the ‘You Be the Goalie’ simulator.

“I mean, I stopped all five, so it wasn’t that hard,” said Toffoli with a smirk. “But I wouldn’t want to have to stop pucks all the time.”

The exhibit also features the “LA Kings Story,” which features iconic moments from Kings history, shown on video with commentary, as well as the opportunity for fans to picture themselves holding the Stanley Cup.

Even though the exhibit is now open, the work isn’t finished. The Kings will continue to update the history and video segments of the exhibit as best they can to keep things current and fresh, in addition to partnering with local organizations to bring field trips and other groups of kids to the exhibit and Discovery Cube Los Angeles.

The team at the Discovery Cube is extremely optimistic about their new addition.

“The idea is that they’re fans of the Kings and we want them to embrace the science that’s around the sport, and to know more about the sport even, through science. The other way, if you’re in a classroom, we want them to know that science is fun, and science is applied to something that they’re watching on TV, or they’re in the stands,” said Joe Adams, CEO of the Discovery Science Foundation. “And to be good at the sport, you actually have to understand those principles of science.

“Those players may not be traditional scientists when you think of scientists, but they’ve embraced the science. They’re working out, they’re eating healthy, those are all science principles,” continued Adams. “I’m hoping that the children of Los Angeles will embrace science more because they see that the champions of the sport use science in their own world to be better.”

Indeed, what better way to inspire kids to learn than by showing them how their professional sports heroes used science to become champions?

Follow on Twitter: @by_DeborahLew

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Kings Communications Dept. on Twitter: @LAKingsPR

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