“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” This famous call by Al Michaels during the 1980 Winter Olympics is now 41 years ago. That call, from February 22, 1980, will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports.
I know I’m dating myself, but I was alive for that call and have watched countless interviews and shows detailing that historic event. You would think that with all those factors I would have embraced hockey and the benefits that it offers in physical education. That was not the case. The excitement for the event quickly faded in my rural Oklahoma community, and with a minimal hockey presence in my state, I grew up focusing on other activities.
My passion was rekindled when I moved to Texas, and the state of Minnesota, home of Gopher, moved their beloved North Stars to Dallas to become my Dallas Stars. (I know some Minnesotans are still upset with that move!)
With the relocation to Texas, I became very interested in hockey but knew very little to help implement that into my first teaching assignment in 1995. I’m still no expert on hockey but I enjoy introducing the sport to my students every year.
I start with my Pre-K students and cut pool noodles to serve as their hockey sticks. The first concept I teach is just the basic concept of trying to hold the noodle like a hockey stick and not a broom. It is always a struggle with the little ones, and I would love for anyone to share ideas they have for striking skills with Pre-K students! After of few days of locomotor activities using our stick-noodles, I then introduce a noodle slice (segments of pool noodles that have been sliced to resemble pucks) and allow them to explore the room.
Transitioning these basic skills to my upper grades involves implementing skill stations. Gopher has created an awesome product that includes circuit cards for those of us less knowledgeable in all the necessary hockey skills.
These training station boards allow me to set up an organized self-guided Floor Hockey circuit. Some of the different stations are:
- Basic Passing
- Diagonal Passing
- Wrist Shot
Utilizing the Rainbow Smart Holder Cones allows me to display the signs in 12 stations around the gym so that students can move throughout the circuit at their own pace while I float among the stations and provide specific and targeted feedback.
Cross Curricular Activity:
My first-year teaching and implementing hockey at a private school in Houston, I introduced the following cross-curricular activity. I worked with the 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade core content teachers to develop a writing assignment linked to events that could be played on ice during the Winter Olympics. Each student could select their own sport to research and once the assignment was completed, we arranged a field trip to a local ice rink. It was great to see the students that have never experienced this type of activity, and who knows, maybe this sparked an interest that still burns today for those students.
- 5 Floor Hockey Drills for Beginners [Video] by Terri Pitts
- Floor Hockey Skills Championship by Jason Gemberling
- Floor Hockey Fundamentals, Fitness, and Fun! by Peter Boucher