Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula will visit St. Thecla Elementary School in Clinton Township, Mich., on Thursday, Sept. 6, to drop the puck for the third year of the Red Wings School Assembly Program sponsored by the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and The Kroger Company of Michigan. The program will take place from 1:15 - 2:15 p.m. in the school gymnasium. (Story continues below photos)
Filppula and the Red Wings School Assembly Team will introduce 420 elementary students to the sport of hockey through a youth street and floor hockey initiative. The Wings will provide equipment and hands-on instruction to familiarize kids with the sport of hockey and to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.
The school assembly team opens every program with an interactive lesson on exercise and healthy eating, followed by an energetic hockey shootout competition pitting students against teachers. Each school receives two full sets of floor hockey equipment complete with hockey sticks and goalie nets courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, as well as a Red Wings folder and a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan keepsake magnet that lists five fun afterschool activities.
Last season, the Red Wings School Assembly Team visited 100 local schools, reaching more than 40,000 students and providing 200 sets of equipment to physical education departments throughout southeastern Michigan. Current Red Wings players Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Dan Cleary, Tomas Holmstrom and Todd Bertuzzi each attended an assembly, as did notable alumni such as Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper.
A special fundraising initiative administered by the Red Wings School Assembly Program in 2011-12 helped local students raise more than $75,000 for a variety of charitable endeavors by selling tickets to Red Wings home games. In addition, more than 1,000 students who sold at least four tickets as part of the initiative were invited to attend a special open skate event at Joe Louis Arena last season.
This season, the Red Wings School Assembly Team plans to make 115 appearances, beginning Thursday in Clinton Township. The most up-to-date schedule can be found at www.DetroitRedWings.com/schoolassemblyschedule.