This was no ordinary ball hockey game on a very summer-like Thursday afternoon.
Students ringed the pavement behind Bells Corners Public School, cheering on some of their fellow classmates. Spartacat, the Ottawa Senators' ambassador of fun, was on the prowl, sharing his loyalties with both teams. Radio personality Stuntman Stu, the voice of Sens hockey at Scotiabank Place, joined in the fun, too.
All of this was a well-deserved prize for Sarah Groskleg's Grade 4 class at the school, which earned top honours in the inaugural season of the Shoot For 60 program. It's a new initiative that encourages students to be active, with schools entered in the contest compiling a cumulative minute total for their respective classes.
The 17 students in Groskleg's class logged an impressive 30,000 minutes of physical activity during the month-long initiative in March for the grand prize, which included a class set of practice jerseys, a ball hockey set for the school and today's game with Sparty to break it all in.
Among the winning total were a wide range of activities.
"They can do anything," said Emily Knight, the program's co-ordinator with the Senators. "If they had a hockey practice one night, that counts toward the minutes. If they did some jump rope, if they rode their bike, if they put a dance routine together … really, it’s anything that involves getting out there and getting physical.
"Whether it’s structured or unstructured, on their own or in a group, it all counts toward their Shoot For 60 minutes."
The healthy living program, which was open to classes registered in Sens@School throughout the Ottawa-Gatineau region, was designed with assistance from local educators, with the aim to get as many students as possible involved in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
"We just want to encourage kids to get active," said Knight. "There are all kinds of stats about Type 2 diabetes and problems with kids being sedentary and obese kids in Canada and things like that. It’s just our way of encouraging kids to be physically active."
Five secondary were also handed out, with each student in those classes getting a Senators prize and their schools receiving a ball hockey set. Those winners included:
• Sherrie Guthrie’s Grade 6 class at Century Public School.
• Stephanie Carle’s Grade 4 class at Du Plateau.
• Marie-Andree Roy’s Grade 2 class at école élémentaire catholique de Casselman.
• Joanne Laskoski’s Grade 1 class at Good Shepherd Catholic School.
• Jo Ann Pecaskie’s Grade 2 class at Walter Zadow Public School.For more information on the Shoot For 60 program, click here.