By Andrew Brethauer
Anaheim Ducks staff, alumni and season-ticket holders recently assembled at Mattie Lou Maxwell Elementary School to construct a permanent street hockey rink on the school playground as part of a rejuvenation project for the Anaheim-based school.
Call it Extreme Makeover: Hockey Edition.
“It is a great opportunity for us to get hockey sticks, pucks and goals into the hands of the people participating for years to come,” said Ducks CMO Aaron Teats. “It is a good step forward for us to continue to grow hockey in southern California.”
With the lockout reaching two months, the Ducks are making the best of a bad situation by using their extra time and available resources to reach out into the community. Besides the street hockey rink that will reside on the Mattie Lou Maxwell playground, the school has new campus murals in Ducks colors that align with its motto of “Respectful, Responsible, Safe and Kind.”
“This is a wonderful gift for our community and I am very grateful to the Ducks for making this possible,” said Maxwell Elementary principal Marcy Chant. “The Ducks are providing a very special setting for our students to learn to develop their hockey skills and to celebrate being healthy and strong.”
Maxwell Elementary is a participant of the Ducks’ S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education) program that benefits the students in the classroom through reading and writing, but also to provide a physical education component where the students learn the fundamentals of hockey.
“We want to teach them a sport that provides a lot of great things like teamwork, learning to win and lose as a group, and learn the individual skills to play the game,” said Teats. “(S.C.O.R.E.) provides the right foundations and the right message to schools that it isn’t all about finding a way to go out and play hockey, you have to be a well rounded person.”
The rink at Maxwell Elementary is the first of many that Teats hopes the Ducks will be able to put up in schoolyards across southern California, as the NHL organization acts as a hockey ambassador in a state where the first instinct of children is to play soccer or baseball.
“I would love it to see every school in the area wanting to put in a rink like this, just as much as you see other playground equipment,” said Teats. “We are not trying to replace baseball or any other sport in the area, we just want to expose them to what we think is a phenomenal opportunity and a phenomenal game.”