COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two thousand students from Central Ohio came to Nationwide Arena to see the Blue Jackets practice, and find out about the science behind the game.
Many of the students said they have never been to or seen a hockey game.
Officials with the Blue Jackets said this is a win-win situation. Middle school students are learning about the game of hockey, while seeing how it applies to their STEM programs. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
6th grader Mia Gutierrez, who attends Park Street Intermediate School in Grove City, was one of those watching hockey practice with a keen eye.
“I’m seeing how they hit the puck towards the wall to get it in the goal or other players and I am calculating all the speeds,” she said.
Gutierrez said she is also fascinated by other aspects of the game.
“I think it is pretty cool to watch them and see how they can skate on ice, while they do something and multitask,” Gutierrez said.
It was also just fun to be on a field trip to Nationwide Arena.
Former player and now game announcer Jody Shelley emceed the event and taught the students the CBJ chant and how to properly wave their rally towels.
Coaches and officials took turns talking with the large crowd about how science and technology are a part of the game. One example is tablets used on the bench during a game by coaches to review plays seconds after they happened. The CBJ’s head of social media spoke about proper grammar and following the brand when posting on the internet. Another topic is the science that goes into keeping players healthy.
“We do blood analysis to see where there blood level is, their vitamins and minerals, their proteins and their carbohydrates and lipid intact is to see if we need to change something in the diet,” said Nelson Ayotte, Director of High Performance.
Across the state, 6,600 middle schoolers are working in the STEM-focused online program.
“I’ve never seen them practice ever, I’ve only seen them on TV so I think it is really cool to watch them and get an opportunity like this,” said Nevaeh King, from Columbus’ Arts Impact Middle School.
This is a no-cost program picked up by the Columbus Blue Jackets, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Association.