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As part of the Detroit Red Wings’ groundbreaking Learn, Play, Score “Street Hockey in The D: At School” program, presented by Chevrolet, more than 34,000 Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) students in kindergarten through eighth grade are learning the basics of hockey. From January 30 through February 10, physical education teachers at 79 public schools are using hockey to help develop life skills like teamwork, dedication and maintaining a healthy body and mind.

To bring the program to life for the students, Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin and teammates Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider met excited elementary and middle schoolers at Bunche Preparatory Academy and Chrysler Elementary School and played floor hockey with them in the schools’ gymnasiums.

Larkin was excited to spend time with students and enjoyed the genuine happiness in their smiles. “Being around the kids, seeing their enthusiasm, watching them learn and have fun is what it’s all about. Learn, Play, Score is good for kids in the community get a stick and a ball and know they don’t need a whole lot to enjoy the game of hockey.”

Seider manned a stick-handling station, where he taught students how to hold and use a hockey stick. Seider said he hoped the experience might spark interest in the game like it did for him in his youth. “When I was in school I didn’t pay much attention to hockey at first, but once I started I just fell in love.  Today seeing all the excitement with the kids as they played was really cool.” Raymond added, “Hockey was something I always came back to growing up, so hopefully these kids are having as much fun playing today as we are.” 

The Detroit Red Wings Learn, Play, Score program, focusing on breaking down systemic barriers by providing equitable access to hockey in various forms for thousands of children across Detroit, was launched in 2020. The program includes street hockey within the P.E. curriculum for all schools serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. 

Wendy Shirley, principal of Chrysler Elementary School and a 38-year veteran of Detroit Public Schools Community District was excited for her students to meet and learn from Detroit Red Wings players. “To have the Detroit Red Wings join us created a great opportunity for students to experience the sport of hockey, which many of them haven’t been exposed to, and also learn about important things like teamwork, sportsmanship and understanding the role of every player on a team.” 

In addition to “Street Hockey in the D,” Learn, Play, Score initiatives include new Esports lounges at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michiganice rink collaborations with Clark Park, East Side Hockey Ice Arena and Jack Adams Memorial Arena, open skate opportunities for youth at Little Casears Arena and more. 

“Creating localized access and exposure to hockey through initiatives like Learn, Play, Score unlocks incredible opportunities for young Detroiters to dream big,” said Kevin Brown, Director of Community Impact, Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “These unique experiences are intended to help kids imagine the possibilities in hockey while gaining life changing skills that can be carried well-beyond the classroom.”