The NHL and the NHL Players' Association celebrated National STEM Day on Wednesday with Hockey Scholar, a free digital resource teaching science, technology, engineering and math through Future Goals, a web-based course that uses hockey to teach foundational concepts to students in Grades 5-7.
Since launching in September 2014, Future Goals has reached more than 1.8 million students throughout the United States and Canada at nearly 15,000 schools, generating more than 1.5 million hours of STEM learning opportunities.
"It's been tremendous and exciting to watch this really grow year after year, watching kids get excited about STEM," said Ira Frankel, senior vice president of EverFi, which runs the STEM Future Goals/Hockey Scholar program.
"One area that's really important is the career angle, too. Not only are we teaching kids STEM, but the career piece is what we see as being more crucial. They get the opportunity to understand that even if they play professional hockey there's so many different types of STEM careers to get involved in the game, like ice technicians, building engineers, statisticians and social media experts. We're able to open this up to young boys and girls to not only experience the game of hockey but experience careers in the game of hockey."
The Hockey Scholar course, launched a year later, uses hockey to help build STEM skills when students complete 12 learning modules that educate them and test their knowledge on core concepts covering data analysis, geometry, life science and physical science. These topics come to life through real hockey examples that include the dynamics of the ice surface, equipment design, athletic performance and geometric and energy considerations, all relating to how the game is played.
"We've been provided this opportunity from the NHL and the PA to execute this across North America and now in 31 markets, where the first three years were really 30 markets with Vegas coming into play," Frankel said. "It's been great being able to take this out to the desert now and introduce the game of hockey to them in a different way through the school system."