By Dan Walton
The Columbia Valley Rockies play or practice nearly every night of the week, but the boys still make time to contribute more than just hockey
action for Invermere.
Twice each week, players from the Rockies head over to Eileen Madson Primary to give the students something to brag about learning alongside Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) players.
The little ones get really excited about guests in our building, and the Rockies are like rock stars, said principal Lisa Tenta. The kids want their autograph; theyre excited to talk about the games they went to.
This is the third season that the Rockies have been helping at the elementary school, and Ms. Tenta said that its now a well-established practice between the school and hockey organization.
All around, its really great community building, she said. A lot of the Rockies themselves are from out of town, and working in the schools gives them a deeper connection to the community by working with our students.
The Rockies involve themselves with physical activities for the first half of their visit, before retreating to the classroom for reading exercises.
Its awesome, said Kyle Pouncy. They do a ton for us theyre the reason we have a strong fanbase. Without them were nothing, so were really happy to help out.
The students look up to teenagers in a different way than they do adults, and the children approach the curriculum with a different comfort level when Rockies players are doing the teaching, Ms. Tenta said.
One particular child lights up whenever Tyson [Kapty] reads; she just cant wait to curl up and have him read, and he lights up too, she said.
It brightens their day just as much as it brightens my day, agreed Mr. Kapty.
Many Eileen Madson Primary students are young hockey players, and aspire to be Rockies one day themselves, Ms. Tenta said.
So to actually see one of the Rockies working with them, I think its really inspiring and motivational for our kids, she said.