Street Jackets, a member of the NHL Street Program, is a grass-roots street hockey program that allows kids to learn the basic skills of hockey on the playgrounds or in the gymnasiums of community based facilities through the donation of equipment, training sessions and manuals. There is no cost to the facilities for this program and all that kids need to participate is a pair of sneakers. The Blue Jackets further support this program with clinics and a championship tournament at the end of the year.
Currently, there are 45 centers participating in the program. If you are a school, parks and recreation center, YMCA or any other type of community based facility that is interested in this free program, please call the Blue Jackets Fan Development Department at (614) 246-4158.
“…thanks to the involvement of the Blue Jackets our Street Jackets program at Arlington Park is thriving. We have as many as 25 students playing at lunchtime every day and we have Thursday and Friday before school practice that number 12-15 every week. The morning sessions are particularly interesting in that the kids have to find their own way to school at 7:30 am. Some of them arrive between 7 and 7:15am.
"On Friday nights we organize parents to transport our players who are interested to Easton Chiller where thanks to Columbus Recreation and Parks our kids take advantage of the “Learn to Skate” program. We have had as many as 17 students attend… seven of those kids have been chosen to enter the USA Hockey process where the ratio of players to coaches is about five to one. Our kids are learning to play real ice hockey! All of their equipment, coaching and ice time are provided. These students were not able to skate at all in the beginning.
"…the teachers and staff at Arlington Park have been completely supportive of the program and we are seeing improvements academically and behaviorally as well. Many of the kids that become involved in the lunch time street hockey also have demonstrated a variety of behavior problems in the past.
"The lunch time activity provides a physical outlet for many aggressive behaviors. We have been able to point out that there can be an appropriate aggressiveness on the court and at the same time show how hockey demands strict restraint in the angriest of situations. This translates into the classroom and into other social situations where our kids are being noticed for their progress instead of their problem behaviors. We still have problem behaviors but we are seeing real progress. As our kids are recognized and rewarded for their skill acquisition, more kids become interested. It’s growing. Thank you for supporting us."
-John Magary, School Resource Coordinator at Arlington Park Elementary and Mifflin Middle School