By Blake Haas
BLOOMINGTON – Designed to teach kids the foundations of hockey, members of the Chicago Blackhawks staff donated equipment and training sessions to Washington Elementary School.
The GOAL or Get Out And Learn program provides schools with a full set of floor hockey equipment for the school, including 30 sticks, 30 balls, 30 jerseys, and two nets.
“This is an initiative the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks have to help get hockey into schools in a specific time where the state is facing a budget, and the equipment is very expensive,” said Washington Physical Education Teacher Austin Meyers.
Washington Elementary School was one of the few schools chosen outside of Chicago because a Bloomington-Normal native works for the team and was able to bring them here.
“It has been awesome so far to see them (Chicago Blackhawks staff and students) interact with each other,” added Myers. “I think the exciting part for me is getting to see the kids getting to play with people who are much more skilled than myself and learning from people who can teach them the basics in a much more simple way.”
For students, new equipment allows a spark of interest to ignite for hockey and the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I take this as an honor to be honest because they are such a big team in this tiny town, and I take this as an honor,” said fifth-grade student Gisel Lee. “I thank them so much, and I think this is a cool experience for us.”
Selected as one of the few schools outside the Chicago area, members of the @NHLBlackhawks staff hosted a hockey clinic at Washington Elementary School. Here’s a video of the equipment donated to @District_87: pic.twitter.com/A98DgU9Rr0
— Blake Haas (@blakehaaswjbc) March 5, 2020
For students like Ruby Moore, new equipment means learning more.
“This is just amazing. We’ve not had great materials,” Moore added. “This is just amazing to have, and I am very thankful that they were able to give us all this new stuff.”
Blake Haas can be reached at News@WJBC.com.