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Ducks Staffers Participate in Learn to Play Clinic

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 8:00 PM / News
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Ducks Staffers Participate in Learn to Play Clinic
They may all work in hockey, but that doesn\u2019t mean they\u2019re any good at it. So, about 30 staffers from the Ducks, Honda Center and The Rinks took part in an Adult Learn to Play Program at The Rinks \u2013 Anaheim ICE on Monday afternoon.
PHOTO GALLERY
By Kyle Shohara
AnaheimDucks.com

They may all work in hockey, but that doesn’t mean they’re any good at it.

So, about 30 staffers from the Ducks, Honda Center and The Rinks took part in an Adult Learn to Play Program at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE on Monday afternoon. The Anaheim Ducks Learn to Play Program offers first-time hockey players the chance to get on the rink and experience the great sport of hockey for FREE. Participants receive instruction on the basics of hockey as well as learning how to skate properly.

For many of the staff members, today’s session marked the first time in full hockey gear. One of those participants was on-air talent Kent French.

“I was impressed,” he said. “I looked at Hutchy [Rick Hutchinson, Hockey Director, Anaheim Ice and Westminster Ice], and said, ‘Is this exactly what you put these guys through in an hour?’ They do four sessions of this, too. It really gives individuals a great idea of what it takes to be a hockey player. It was awesome.”

Hutchinson leads the highly successful Learn to Play Program, one that got its roots as a youth-only clinic.

“The growth of Learn to Plays in general, which stem from our Youth Learn to Play, has been increasing for the past six years,” he said. “In the last year and a half when Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry stepped in and said they’ll pay for the gear for kids who continue with this and join a program, that’s unheard of.”

Through that, Hutchinson says, is how the Adult Learn to Play came to be. “The parents are bringing their kids to the Youth Learn to Play and saying, ‘Wow, that looks like fun.’ Parents started asking me about it, so I decided to create the Adult Learn to Play. I sent emails to every Youth Learn to Play participant for their parents, and we had over 100 people on the waiting list in the first few days.”

Hutchinson instructed today’s group on the basics, such as skating drills, stickhandling, puck possession and shooting.

“The staff was great,” he said. “They were out there trying to learn some new things, and our goal was to get them out there and experience what the big guys do on the ice. They work for the team and they see it every day, but to get out there and do it is a totally different thing. We wanted to expose them to the basics. It was outstanding. They were a great group.”

“It just shows the enthusiasm that the Ducks staff has for the sport,” said French, who Hutchinson picked to showcase every drill. “It’s awesome to see them out here so they can get a sense of what these athletes go through on a daily basis. It’s also cool to see what The Rinks staff is doing to grow this game with all the different programs we have.”

Hutchinson let out a laugh when asked to grade French’s on-ice performance. “He’s awful…just terrible,” he said. “Frenchy is awesome. He works hard, and he’s one of those guys who never gives up. He takes one for the team any time you ask him to.”

“This was a lot of fun and I definitely want to do this again. Who knows, maybe that will eventually turn into a league with co-workers or friends.”

French says today’s hour-long clinic gave him a newfound appreciation for what the Ducks do on a daily basis. “The fact that they have to go out here and not only do the morning skate and play in that night’s game, but then after the game you see them on the bike. It gives you a sense of what type of physical condition these guys are actually in, and the work they have to put in during the offseason heading into training camp.”

French says the most challenging drill was keep-away. “You had to do a passing drill, then when the whistle was blown, your opponent had to come up and try to take the puck away from you,” he said. “Trying to stay balanced, stay on your skates, control the puck, not fall over and do all of those at the same time was pretty difficult.”

Also on the ice for the first time in full gear was Ducks Marketing Coordinator Ryan Johnson, who signed up for the program as soon as it was announced. “It was a lot of fun and hard work,” he said. “I have great respect and appreciation for all these NHL players, kids, and anyone of all ages that plays hockey.

“From when you first put your skates on and you get out there and your feet start to wobble, to see those guys out there going hard gives you so much respect for how much hard work they put in to get to that level.”

Johnson says he’s definitely considering enrolling in the full Learn to Play Program after today. “This was a lot of fun and I definitely want to do this again. Who knows, maybe that will eventually turn into a league with co-workers or friends.”

The adult program is currently being offered at three Rinks locations: Lakewood ICE, Huntington Beach Inline and Irvine Inline. Sessions fill up fast, so it is encouraged to check the website for the latest updates. For more information, click here.

For more information on the Youth Learn to Play Program, click here.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 

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