NY Rangers and Regeneron Team Up On (and Off) the Ice

This camp teaches local kids math and engineering skills they can take with them well beyond the hockey rink.


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Photos by Liz Colombini

STEM education and hockey team up at this year’s NY Rangers Youth Camp as biotech giant, Regeneron, seeks to bring out the inner scientist of campers.

“It kind of goes outside the scope of your regular hockey camp,” says '94 Stanley Cup winner and hockey legend Adam Graves, one of a handful of Rangers alumni who have helped coach these young campers. A father of three, Graves believes that kids are interested in learning because it correlates with something they love. “Kids are hungry to learn because it's hockey. And sometimes the best way to learn is when you don’t even realize you’re learning,” he explains.


Every Tuesday for four weeks, children between the ages of 6 and 14 take an hour break from the ice and learn concepts of science and math. Walk by one of the rooms in the training facility and you will see them surrounding tables set up with protractors, miniature hockey goals, even marshmallow shooters. While younger children focus on things like the basic ideas of predictions and observations, older children learn more complex principles like the design and creation of their own puck using materials like foam and eventually wood.


​Regeneron, which is located directly across from the Madison Square Garden Training Center in Tarrytown,, initiated the program due to declining interest in STEM related studies. “Very early on we can teach them that science, engineering and math can be fun and creative, and that it has utility,” added Susan Croll, Director of Neuroscience and Director of the Postdoctoral Training Program at Regeneron.


According to a study done by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2015, the United States ranked 38th in math and and 24th in science among 71 industrialized nations. “We see a lot of times that when kids hit middle school, they start to think that science is just memorizing facts and figures. It loses its fun and spark and we try to infuse that for them again,” says Croll.

“It’s a good supplement to their hockey education. They practice these drills on the ice and we’re kind of teaching them some of the theory behind what they’re actually doing,” says Jamie Fairhurst, a Digital Resource Specialist at Regeneron. “I think it’s very useful. If some of my men’s league teammates understood the science behind hockey a little better, I think we’d have a couple more wins.”

 

 

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