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NHL, NHLPA, SAP team up with EVERFI to recognize Most Valuable Teachers

Fan voting for Future Goals Program open; winner named each month

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

With a shift in virtual learning having increased the past few years because of the pandemic, teachers have become even more important in the lives of their students.

Not only do they educate students, but they instill values, build character and shape future generations. To honor these teachers, the NHL, the National Hockey League Players' Association and SAP are once again partnering with EVERFI, a leading social impact education innovator, in the Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher program presented by SAP.

In its third year, the program will continue to recognize 20 teachers, who have used the Future Goals Hockey Scholar program, each month starting Jan. 1 through March 31. Fans can go to and vote for their favorite to win the Most Valuable Teacher of the Month award. The monthly voting will then narrow the field down to three finalists. Final voting will take place May 2--6, during Teacher Appreciation Week 2022 before the crowning of the Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher of the Year presented by SAP.


[VOTE NOW: Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher of the Year presented by SAP]


"Teachers play an extraordinarily important and impactful role in the lives of young people around the world," said Rob Zepp, director, strategic initiatives for the NHLPA. "Knowing this, the opportunity to recognize teachers through the Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher program is something that we, along with our partners at the NHL, SAP and EVERFI, are extremely proud of."

Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher presented by SAP is an extension of the Future Goals program, which is fully funded by the NHL and NHLPA, and provides resources to teachers, parents and families using a digital hockey-themed STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for elementary and middle school students. The Future Goals program has impacted more than 3.5 million students since its inception in 2014.

As part of Future Goals, which offers educational opportunities to each of the 32 NHL markets in the United States and Canada, Most Valuable Teacher program presented by SAP will celebrate 60 dynamic teachers who have made an impact across North America. Fans can vote for teachers and the school districts of the winners receive thousands of dollars' worth of technology donations provided by SAP.

"Teachers are our everyday heroes in the classroom and have a major influence on students' lives by teaching them not only vital life skills, but important STEM and educational lessons," said Rob Knesaurek, NHL group vice president of youth hockey and industry growth. "We're very grateful to SAP, our program presenter, who will give local school districts important technology donations for our monthly winners in January, February and March, and Environmental Sustainability Resources for the Most Valuable Teacher winner that will leave a lasting impact to that school district."

The stories of this year's candidates will be told throughout Teacher Appreciation Week and fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite. The program continues to grow in fan participation as the 2021 Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher program presented by SAP saw a 206% increase in votes from 2020.

"Just as professional hockey players in the NHL get to live their childhood dream every day, being a teacher for the past 26 years has given me the ability to live out my childhood dream," said Joan Kilban, the 2020 Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher of the Year presented by SAP. "I'm truly honored to be able to be a part of a child's life and help shape their future. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. The gift of $30,000 from SAP could not have come at a better time than the Spring of 2020. Like so many others across the world, our school system was suddenly forced to shift to online learning and the very generous gift was used to address inequities in access to technology. We've also gone on to purchase software programs to help with some of the learning gaps from the Covid 19 pandemic and it is making a tremendous difference. Our teachers, students and families are so grateful!"

The nominee with the most votes at the end of each month will receive $10,000 worth of technology donations for their school district as well as street hockey equipment.

"These technology donations will provide much-needed resources for schools to help accelerate STEM education and training, while creating brighter futures for students," Amy Schulz, senior director, global sponsorships at SAP said.

This year's Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher of the Year presented by SAP overall winner will receive an additional $20,000 donation from SAP to use in their school district toward Environmental Sustainability Resources.

"To see this entire community rally around this amazing chance to change the trajectory of learning for the current and future students in this district was incredible," said Donald Conaway, Jr, the 2021 Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher of the Year presented by SAP. "This grant money will do that. Last Spring, we planned out an amazing plan to create an outdoor classroom space in the enclosed courtyard of our school building. Over the summer our contracted construction company began to excavate and build 12 cinder block garden beds of various heights where Spring and Summer crops will be planted by students and teachers. We are going to reconvene this Winter to plan out how the rest of the funding will be used to create the best possible outdoor classroom experience for everyone. Thanks to SAP, EVERFI, Future Goals and the Philadelphia Flyers, this $30,000 donation will help to create this dream project and help to enable life changing educational opportunities for students of Norristown and give them windows in STEM careers and have the potential to change their lives for the better."

Each previous winner was celebrated with a virtual pep rally and surprised with the technology donation and a virtual appearance by an NHL player from their hometown team. 

Conaway Jr. said, "It always has been and will always be about what's best for our students and this donation will certainly change lives."

Go to and vote for your favorite Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher presented by SAP.

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