TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson Roadrunners are hoping to teach new fans a thing or two about hockey.
“The terms ‘slap shot’, ‘offsides’, they may be a foreign concept. But, a lot of what we’re doing, the kids understand and they do pick up pretty quick," said Tyler Kern, Roadrunners Manager of Fan Development and Amateur Hockey.
The organization is introducing street hockey to students through P.E. programs in Tucson schools. The effort is an extension of the Arizona Coyotes curriculum, funded through a partnership with the NHL, the NHLPA and the League’s Industry Growth Fund.
The goal is to get hockey sticks in the hands of kids while teaching them basics of the sport, along with the importance of health and wellness.
“I think if you get not only the competitiveness, but the teamwork, I think that goes a long way for kids and their growth," Kern said.
Roadrunners management will spend a week in 22 schools around Tucson, teaching students the basic skills to excel in the sport.
“When you get used to it, you can be able to play it,” said Dearrion Jordan, an 8-year-old at Estes Elementary in Marana.
In conjunction with the Coyotes, the program will be introduced to over 300 schools in Maricopa and Pima counties this year. In total, that’s excepted to be about 500,000 students in Arizona.
“It’s the kids. That’s who you want to grow up a Roadrunners fan," Kern said. "To see kids out here wearing the Roadrunners logo, wearing our pinnies, it’s a cool feeling. It really is.”