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Charlotte Checkers partner with Weddington Elementary School

Charlotte Checkers player David Rutherford (10) blocks hockey balls being shot at the goal by Weddington Elementary students. (Below) Charlotte Checkers player Bobby Raymond (23) chats with a student between hockey games.

In order to help children lead healthier lives, Weddington Elementary School teamed up with the Charlotte Checkers to create a four-week diet and exercise program that will hopefully become part of their students’ lifestyles.

This program, called Charlotte Checkers PowerPLAY, includes a nutrition presentation and floor hockey lessons by Checkers players, as well as a four-week diet and exercise tracker. Students log into the Checkers’ website to set goals and then keep up with those goals.

Weddington Elementary P.E. teacher Keith Kraemer said about 130 fifth graders are taking part in the program. “Fifth grade is when students begin to have a say in what they eat,” he said. “It’s a transitional year. We want them to make better choices.”

Teachers encourage their students to fill out the wellness log, record healthy eating goals and physical activities completed each day. All students who successfully log their goals and achievements during the month will receive a free ticket to a Charlotte Checkers game.

Charlotte Checkers player David Rutherford (10) said the nutrition element of the program is also very important. “It will benefit them for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Rutherford and his teammate, Bobby Raymond (23) spent some quality time playing hockey with the students, but not the traditional hockey game. Rather than being on ice and using a hockey puck, the game was played in the gym with soft brightly colored balls about three inches in diameter.

The two athletes were challenged to block hundreds of hockey balls being shot by students who were trying to make a goal. “It was fun," Rutherford said. “It’s not every day you get to play hockey in the South.”

“Getting into the community is always nice, but when you get to go into a school, it means so much more to be able to help kids become more active,” Rutherford added. “When I was a kid and we had sports figures come to our school, it meant the world.”

Checkers Coordinator of Marketing and Fan Development Elle Bunn said the program, which is in its second year, began at Weddington Elementary. “This year, we’ve moved into about eight schools in Charlotte and Union County.”

Bunn said this year, programs are beginning at Wingate, Antioch, Wesley Chapel and Marvin Elementary Schools, as well as a few Charlotte Mecklenburg schools.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Feb 07, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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