The Stockton Thunder let “Kids Take Over the Stockton Arena” for the Sunday matchup against the San Francisco Bulls. Kids had the opportunity to hold various positions throughout the arena, from ushers and zamboni drivers to Thunder broadcasters.

“It is important to us as an organization to continue to grow our sport,” team marketing manager Brandon Kisker said. “This event was put in place to give some of our youngsters an idea of what it takes to work for a sports team, while also teaching them a few lessons of what it takes to be a good writer, public address announcer, sales person, etc. Hopefully the kids learned a lot, had a ton of fun, and if they didn’t already, have a great passion for the sport of hockey.”

The Pink Puck got involved in the fun and had a young shadow journalist throughout the game. Meet Gracie, a sixth grader from Stockton, who’s favourite subject is math, she aspires to be a journalist and her absolute favourite Hockey player is Thunder Captain Garet Hunt.

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Assistant Associate Editor Tasha and aspiring journalist Gracie at “Kids Take Over”

What follows is her recap of a wild Sunday tilt that saw the Thunder score four times in the first period and the penalty minutes rack up at a breakneck pace.

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In the first period everything was calm,until Stockton made the first goal!!! Made by Matt Bergland#17, and assisted by Shawn Boutin#26 and James Henry#15. Followed up by a fight with Garet Hunt#24 Stockton and Kris Belan #43  for San Francisco. After we got the boys back in we got a power play but it didn’t end up well for the OTHER team. It so happens that they got a penalty for throwing a punch, as number 47   heads to the penalty box we seemed to have gotten another goal short handed from #15 Henry!!!! Just two short minutes after that we got another goal backhanded by Mike Dalhuisen#14,with assists by Henry, and Bergland. Most of the other team was pretty shook by what Stockton did as they were swiftly skating #24 Hunt passed it to #11 Larson, as he quickly glides to the net he shoots he SCORES!! Stockton Thunder fans go crazy wild!!

“The Stockton thunder fans are amazing I didn’t really expect as much of crowd. Their really great supporters,” said Thunder goalie Parker Milner.  After the four goals Stockton made, San Francisco huddled up and decided to change goalies to #40 Anderson!!

The second period was mostly mild the whole time nothing really was too exciting. We got a power play, two in fact. Then it so happened we got a fighting penalty for #24 Garet Hunt!! As soon as Garet got in the penalty box San Francisco got a score!4-1!! During the first five minutes of third period Stockton scored the fifth and final point!!! 5-1 was the winning score!!
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Following the game, we went down to do post-game interviews with Thunder Head Coach Rich Kromm and some of the players. Our shadow journalists took over the first series of questions. Gracie was very interested in how women fit in to hockey, particularly around what it would be like to have a female teammate. Earlier in the evening we had a discussion about how visible women are in professional sports and my young shadow was disappointed that so few women’s sports are recognized by the national media. Gracie could only think of two, tennis and golf where women have been successful. Here are Gracie’s Post-game questions and comments:

Coach RIch Kromm: Would you treat a female player any differently than a male player? “I don’t think so. My daughter played at Brown University and I think in my experience with her playing she liked to be coached the same as we would coach the guys.”

Nick Larson: How would I feel if I had a female teammate? ” I had a female teammate when I was about 12 years old and it was a little awkward at first but she worked hard and I got along with her in the end, you know now I think we’d just be professional about it.”

Matt Bergland: What would you say to someone to get them interested in hockey? “You know its a fun sport, a team sport. You can make friends. You build a comraderie you might not see anywhere else. It’s a fun sport and you get to get together with people for a common goal.”

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At the end of the night Gracie got her wish to meet her favourite player Captain Garet Hunt during the “Kids Paint the Ice”

After the game, the Stockton Thunder opened up the ice to kids and their parents to paint the ice. A total of 845 people participated in the event, which included many of the Thunder players, who joined in on the fun.

“The goal was to do something new, unique and different both for Stockton and for hockey in general,” team President Brian Sandy said. “We also wanted to give our young fans an opportunity to showcase their creativity and to have a chance to interact with our players in a fun environment.”

The ice will be sealed over and then for the first time in hockey history a game will be played on the fan art when the Thunder take on the San Francisco Bulls for a Friday January 3rd matchup. A short video of the event follows:

 

A West Coast girl, born and raised in the Bay Area in the most non-traditional Hockey Market you could imagine for a long time... When the Sharks came to town it changed the Bay Area hockey landscape forever. Her first love will always be the Red Wings but she has embraced the Sharks since their debut in 1991. She has a passion for minor league grind-it-out-in the-corners hockey. Her heart broke when the ECHL Bulls folded , but luckily the Stockton Thunder are still close enough for her to get her gritty-hockey fix. Besides watching hockey, she is an American Tribal Style belly-dancer and trolls the blue-line, playing defence in a local rec hockey league... A somehow strange but balanced juxtaposition.

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