First Flight Field Trip a Rousing Success

Tuesday, 02.19.2008 / 5:43 PM / Community
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First Flight Field Trip a Rousing Success
More than 16,000 students filled Honda Center for the event.

By Matt Vevoda

With the shrieks of more than 16,000 elementary school students cheering on their every move, the Ducks’ Tuesday practice at Honda Center was anything but ordinary.

More First Flight Photos

As part of the seventh annual First Flight Field Trip, students and teachers from more than 115 schools throughout Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties in grades K-8 got a chance to watch the Ducks practice while convening at the arena for an interactive learning program.

Each student was given a workbook, which they filled in during the event.

The Ducks invited Southern California schools to participate in the First Flight event at no cost to the schools or students. During scheduled breaks, players on the ice will interact with the students and reveal answers to the questions in their First Flight workbooks, provided to each student one month before arriving at Honda Center.  Exhibits enabling students to get a closer look at the elements of math in the sport of hockey will be on display before the on-ice program.

“It’s always a responsibility as an organization and as a hockey club to reach out to our young fans,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “It’s an opportunity for some kids to get a morning to come and watch the Ducks practice. It’s not only hockey but education. You can’t lose at these events.”

“It’s pretty crazy to see 16,000 kids all jammed into one arena,” Ryan Getzlaf said. “It’s a different kind of loud too. They’re all screaming and yelling and just having fun. It’s fun for us as well as for the kids.”

While silence normally fills empty stands at Honda Center during a routine team practice, the buzz emanating from students in the seats Tuesday in support of the Ducks was often louder than at games.

“It’s pretty crazy to see 16,000 kids all jammed into one arena,” Ryan Getzlaf said. “It’s a different kind of loud too. They’re all screaming and yelling and just having fun. It’s fun for us as well as for the kids.”

Added George Parros, “It’s a fever pitch out there. I think it’s at that point where it just can’t get anymore louder. It’s pretty ridiculous out there. I’ve never heard the building get louder than these guys.”

After the students were done cheering on the Ducks during their 45-minute practice, the team changed out of their practice jerseys and into their game jerseys to participate in a skills competition. Following a similar format to that of the NHL’s All-Star Weekend, the Ducks (split between two teams – one wearing black home jerseys and the other wearing white road jerseys) tested their abilities in four different events.

Rob Niedermayer was among the four Ducks to compete in the Shooting Accuracy competition.

Defensemen Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin of the black team started off the competition by splitting the honors in the Hardest Shot event as each registered shots as 92 miles per hour.

Travis Moen, also of the black team, followed with a win in the Fastest Skater event, as the checking forward raced from the extended goal line to the red line in 5.01 seconds.

While Rob Niedermayer (white team), Scott Niedermayer (black) and Teemu Selanne (white) each hit all four targets in the time allotted in the Shooting Accuracy event, it was the Finnish Flash who did so in the least amount of shots, doing so in five chances.

“It’s always fun to go out there and showcase your skills and have a little fun during practice,” said Parros, who hit three targets during eight chances in the Shooting Accuracy event. “It’s fun to entertain, especially kids, a lot of who play hockey around here. Hockey’s becoming more important around Southern California. It’s really fun to see them get excited about it.”

Chris Kunitz had one of the more impressive moves in the Breakaway Challenge.

Judged by a panel of five guests including Television Color Analyst Brian Hayward, the Breakaway Challenge concluded the competition. Tying for the top score (39) in the event were Regina, Saskatchewan natives and members of the black team Getzlaf and Chris Kunitz. In winning the event for the black team, Kunitz had one of the most impressive moves, skating toward the net while flip-flopping the puck atop his stick about chest high, before spinning and taking a shot that unfortunately missed the net. Later Getzlaf picked the puck up behind the net, came around the post and stuffed it in there for his high score.

“I think it’s grown every year, so it’s great,” said Getzlaf of the First Flight Field Trip, which sold out for the first time this year. “I’m happy I’ve been able to be part of the last few.”




1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67


R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48 is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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