NHL notches an assist with free Future Goals online learning program for kids

The NHL and its players association have opened their online Future Goals Hockey Scholar program to parents and teachers for free, hoping to help kids learn during the pandemic.

With school-aged children essentially house-bound, parents face unprecedented challenges when it comes to providing enough physical and educational stimulation while observing social distancing rules.

Future Goals — register at — aims to teach kids how important “science, technology, engineering and mathematics are to the game of hockey,” says NHL vice-president Rob Knesaurek, responsible for youth hockey and industry growth.

The same core skills used by players and coaches, statisticians and equipment managers, even Zamboni drivers, apply to everyday life.

“Hopefully (the program makes) this period of time a bit easier for families,” Knesaurek said.

While there are many online tools and tips for kids who can’t go to school during the pandemic, the consensus is that keeping things as normal as possible — including healthy distractions, such as backyard sports — is vital to their well being.

Some NHL players have offered their own suggestions, including former Maple Leafs defenceman Connor Carrick. On Instagram, he recently posted 26 tips for daily life in isolation (some more offbeat than others) including:

  • Breathing techniques by Wim Hof, famous for braving extreme temperatures.
  • Extended cardio and myofascial stretching.
  • Sleep nine hours a night.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar was among the NHLers who joined in on the “See 10, Do 10” pushup and 10-touch challenges. Kopitar enlisted five-year-old daughter Neza and three-year-old son Jakob, who perched on his back while he did his 10 pushups.

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