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Red Wings vs. Road Runners: it’s a win!

The Detroit Red Wings Assembly at Roosevelt-McGrath Elementary School. Photo by John P. Rhaesa

By Carolyn Marnon – The Detroit Red Wings and the Roosevelt-McGrath Road Runners have many things in common. Students at the elementary school learned all about them at a recent Detroit Red Wings School Assembly. The assembly was interactive and provided positive messages for the students about the importance of education and a healthy lifestyle.
The assembly started with the “silent wave,” the sign for everyone to be quiet and pay attention. Coach Ryan from the event marketing team (the presenters were all referred to as coaches), asked the students if they even knew who the Red Wings were. Most of the students acknowledged that they did know who Detroit’s hockey team was. Coach Ryan told the kids they were going to “talk, cheer, play some games” and just have fun.  When the coaches yelled out “Let’s go…” the students were to reply “Red Wings.” This was their fun way of getting the student’s attention back to the front of the gym.
When Coach Ryan asked them who wanted to go to college, most of the kids raised their hands. Coach Ryan and his team, Coach Sam and Coach Liz, had Red Wing pencil cases with pencils, rulers and a few other supplies to hand out to winners during a round of Trivia.  What’s the name of the giant trophy the team could win (a cardboard replica was at the front of the gym)? Answers ranged from championship, Red Wings trophy, shoot-out trophy, cup trophy until a young girl named Trinity correctly answered: Stanley Cup.  The Red Wings have won more Stanley Cups than any other team in the United States. How many times have they won? Angel knew the answer: 11. Only kindergartners were allowed to answer the next question: What is the name of the position who stands in the net and wears a mask? Corey knew it was the goalie. Back to all the students: What arena do the Red Wings practice and play their home games at? Some thought it was The Palace until Chelsea gave her answer: Joe Louis Arena.  What do people throw out on the ice during the playoffs? Just how did Aiden know that it was an octopus?
Cardboard cutouts of players stood at the front of the assembly floor. Although no players were physically in attendance, Dylan Larkin, Henrik Zetterberg and Petr Mrazek, Coach Ryan said, wanted the kids to know the importance of education. Justin Abdelkader, Riley Sheahan and Niklas Kronwall wanted them to know the importance of dedication. Students and players are not different in regards to education. The both have teachers: the Wings’ teacher is called a coach. Students were asked what subjects they liked to learn about. Math and reading were the winners, although science, writing and social studies each received a vote. This was compared to subjects the Wings study like offense, defense and stick handling. While students have tests in school, the Red Wings have 82 tests every year (games) and in the playoffs, there are even more tests that are harder than the regular tests. Students are winners with A’s while players are winners with game wins. It was stressed that the more A’s students get, the better they will be in middle school, high school and college.
Michigan Education Savings Plan is one of the sponsors of the Red Wings School Assembly Program.  Students were told that Danny DeKeyser went to Western Michigan University, Justin Abdelkader went to Michigan State and Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendening both went to University of Michigan. Students and their parents can save money through the M.E.S.P. so the students can go to college one day too.
Students learn from one another at school.  The Red Wings learn from each other on the ice and in the locker room. Red Wings players come from all over the world: Michigan, Canada, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Coach Ryan told the kids that the Red Wings “don’t make fun of each other or call each other names. This makes them a better team.”
Students were asked what they work hard at or dedicate themselves to achieving. Third grader Becca wants to be a better soccer goalie. The students then learned that players also set goals-to do well in school, to do well in sports, and to play professional sports. To achieve these goals they have to eat healthy and get lots of exercise.
Students were taught how everything on your plate should be healthy: fruits and vegetables, protein and milk. The students went on an imaginary walk through Kroger, another sponsor of the assembly program. They were shown pictures of food items and asked if they were healthy. Strawberries, broccoli, whole grain bread, steak and milk all got the healthy nod. Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake and lollipops could still be eaten, but they were considered treats. If students were to eat healthy, they would have more energy and would grow strong.  Students were asked to promise the Red Wings they would eat healthy. If a parent were to pack lunch tomorrow, the students should open their lunch box/bag and see what is inside. If it is not healthy, they should hand it back to their parent and say that the Red Wings want them to eat a healthy lunch.
Exercise was the next topic. Students had various ways they exercise: push ups, pull ups, gymnastics, running, walking the dog, lifting weights, treadmill, riding a bike, dancing, playing soccer, sit ups, softball and jumping jacks. The Red Wings, on the other hand, get 200-300 minutes of exercise when they are on the ice.
Excitement built when it was time for the students to take on the teachers for a shoot-out competition. Students encouraged their teachers to volunteer in an effort to get six teachers to play. No effort was needed to get students! The players were told to work on their stick handling, shoot the ball at the net and try to score on the opposing goalie. The best of five competition had the kids shouting their goalie’s name, Alex, when the teachers took turns to score. They also cheered on their fellow students who were shooting the ball.  Despite the enthusiasm of the students, the teachers won the shoot-out 4-2.
The assembly came to a close with the event marketing team presenting the school with a full set of street hockey equipment courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. The equipment included two nets, sticks, balls and goalie equipment.  Just like the Red Wings have 11 championship banners hanging from the rafters at Joe Louis Arena, Roosevelt-McGrath would have their own banner. Styled like the championship banners.

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