Capitals Donate Street Hockey Equipment to all MCPS Elementary, Middle Schools

Capitals Donate Street Hockey Equipment to all MCPS Elementary, Middle Schools

Schools will have sticks, pucks, nets by end of April

| Published:
Smith Caps

Representatives of the Washington Capitals present school system superintendent Jack Smith with a personalized jersey to commemorate the beginning of a new partnership between the two organizations.

Caitlynn Peetz

More than 100,000 county students will be given the opportunity to learn how to play hockey through a new partnership announced Monday between the Washington Capitals and the county school system.

School system superintendent Jack Smith announced the partnership during a news briefing at College Gardens Elementary School, where Capitals representatives said they will donate street hockey equipment to all 138 elementary and 40 middle schools in an effort to expose children to the sport early and encourage physical activity. All schools will have the equipment by the end of the month.

“The goal is to provide access to the sport of hockey to as many students as possible,” said Peter Robinson, director of community relations for the NHL team, last year’s winner of the Stanley Cup, and in the early rounds of this year’s playoffs.

Made possible with grant money from a National Hockey League fund, each school will receive 30 to 40 hockey sticks that can be used on all surfaces, 30 balls, 10 pucks, two nets and age-appropriate curriculum. The value of the donation was not disclosed by Capitals or school system staff.

Each physical education teacher will also receive training about the game and will have access to Capitals staff if they have questions or need assistance.

Following the briefing, College Gardens fourth-grade students gathered for an assembly and got to test the equipment.

Robinson, a Sherwood High School graduate, said the donation is personal to him, and hopes it will inspire students to get involved with hockey.

The Capitals have launched similar partnerships with Washington, D.C. public schools and in Baltimore.

“Hockey gave me a lot of opportunities and was so important to me, and I hope this partnership opens the same doors for Montgomery County students,” Robinson said.

Street hockey hones children’s’ hand-eye coordination and emphasizes teamwork, as teams work to score by shooting a puck or ball into their opponent’s net, Robinson said. The game is similar to traditional hockey, but can be played in gyms or paved surfaces.

Cara Grant, supervisor of the school system’s pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade physical education, said the game connects students of all backgrounds and will allow students to interact in different ways.

“When children are playing sports or games, you can see it in their smiles, there is no barrier anymore. Language and background don’t matter,” Grant said. “This is another avenue to achieve that, and we’re really excited about it.”

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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