By Arielle Gordon
Less than 24 hours after an overtime loss to the Calgary Flames, two Colorado Avalanche players got some extra practice in an unorthodox way.
Calle Rosen and Vladislav Kamenev joined 200 fourth-and fifth-grade students for the Playworks Floor Hockey League Celebration at Farrell B. Howell elementary school in Denver. The Colorado Avalanche mascot, Bernie, and members of the Ice Patrol joined as well.
The students rotated between different stations in the school gym and cafeteria. Rosen worked with players on their stick handling skills and shooting accuracy, while Kamenev and Bernie took part in scrimmages.
“I wish I could have done the shots where you hit the target, but I had no time to go over there,” Kamenev said. “I spent my whole time playing hockey.”
“Target practice was my favorite,” Rosen added.
Each elementary school participant received a floor hockey ball, stick, and t-shirt. They each also got two tickets to an Avalanche game. During the event, both players posed for pictures with students and took time to autograph sticks, balls, shirts, and cards after the group photo at the end.
According to an Avalanche press release, “Now in its fifth year, the Playworks Floor Hockey League is made possible by a grant from the NHL/NHLPA Internal Growth Fund Program.” It is also a part of the Hockey is for Everyone Initiative.
Playworks was founded in 1996 and came to Colorado in 2010, where they mostly work with students in the Denver area. The organization also operates in 22 other cities across the country. Their goal is to ensure kids receive enough playtime and the developmental benefits associated with recess or after school playtime.
“Well, I was passing all the balls today and when I scored and celebrated that was kind of fun to see,” Rosen said.
Colorado College hockey players also find time to engage with local children during their season. Since August, team members have visited Children’s Hospital, been to Boo at the Zoo, and hosted Skate with the Tigers at Acacia Park.
On Saturday, the Tigers will have a Teddy Bear Toss during the first intermission at the Broadmoor. Fans are encouraged to bring a new or used stuffed toy to throw on the ice. All toys will be given to the Bob Telemosse Foundation and distributed around the Pikes Peak Area during the holiday season.
The Colorado Avalanche are home against the New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m. at Pepsi Center on Friday, and CC hosts the University of Denver in the second game of the Battle for the Gold Pan at 7 p.m. at Broadmoor World Arena on Saturday.