Hockey Scholars take over NHL All-Star!

Over 1,000 Bay Area students participated in NHL All-Star Future Goals Kids Day, presented by SAP, on Friday, January 25, at the San Jose McEnry Convention Center.

The event celebrated the students’ work through the NHL & NHLPA Future Goals program, which connects the game of hockey to STEM skills.

“It’s amazing to see how connected everything is, especially being in the Bay Area, the heart of Silicon Valley,” said John Poch of the San Jose Sports Authority. “Science, technology, engineering, and math: it’s everything. It opens up the doors to career opportunities for the kids.”

Students gathered in bleachers around a street hockey rink to listen to a panel of hockey players and business leaders, who discussed the technology behind NHL games and connections between STEM education and careers.  

The panel included Willie O’Ree, a recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and the first Black player to play in the NHL. He was joined by Olympic hockey gold medalist Alex Rigsby, Head of SAP Global Sponsorships Bjoern Ganzhorn, and San Jose Sharks VP of Business Intelligence Neda Tabatabaie. Sharks radio announcer Dan Rusanowsky, moderated the discussion.

“Some of these kids, no matter what dream or passion that they have, they’ll continue to do well in school so that someday they can reach that goal as well,” Rigsby said.

Following the STEM panel, students engaged in NHL All-Star Fan Fair activities and exhibits as they completed a STEM and hockey-themed trivia hunt with the help of NHL mascots. They also took photos with the Stanley Cup.

“[This program] lets [the students] know that they do matter. Now they have a chance, really, to be successful in today’s society,” said Jamal Hicks, a San Juan Unified teacher.

Since inception in 2014, the NHL & NHLPA Future Goals program has reached over 2.2 million students across all 31 NHL markets each school year.