By Spencer Montgomery, Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey Coordinator
On Saturday October 25th, The Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey Department hosted a welcoming and training event at the United Center for Chicago Public School P.E teachers and Principals. The event served as a launching point for the new G.O.A.L. (Get Out and Learn) program. The objective is to introduce the game of hockey to as many students as possible while also supplementing Chicago Public Schools’ 30-20-10 wellness and fitness initiative. CPS representatives went through hockey training, learned about G.O.A.L, and received a locker room tour.
G.O.A.L is a two part program. It begins with equipment donation and hockey instruction. Each school receives 30 Blackhawks branded street hockey sticks and balls, 2 street hockey nets, and goalie equipment. The P.E. teacher also receives a training manual which features simple instruction such as the correct way to hold the stick as well as a lesson plan designed for those new to hockey. While the Blackhawks have donated equipment in the past, this new program will focus on training and following up with P.E. teachers so that hockey is as fun as possible for the kids. The Blackhawks Youth Hockey staff will be visiting each school, participating in gym classes to support P.E. teachers.
The second part of the program focuses on fitness and healthy living and features the “Toews Fitness Challenge”. For each week over the course of a month, students receive a new task that they must complete. The criteria ranges from running/walking 3 miles to making a healthy change in their diet and writing about it. Students that complete the 4 week long challenge will receive a bracelet from the Chicago Blackhawks.
G.O.A.L. hopes to be a huge step towards introducing and engaging all Chicago Public School students with the game of hockey and the Chicago Blackhawks.