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Hockey mixes with STEM learning in Wilkes-Barre Twp.

Tom Riese
On Wednesday, nearly 2,000 students attended the first Wilkes-Barre/Scranton preseason game, which included added STEM learning opportunities.

Thousands of students from more than 20 area schools were treated to a Learn With Hockey event Wednesday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Twp: the first Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins preseason game of the year, only with a learning component.

Each student received a school game workbook that focuses on STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Learning stations in the arena’s concourse also taught about concepts like friction by using hockey pucks and different surfaces.

Brian Coe, Vice President of Operations for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, said the idea for the inaugural STEM learning day came together toward the end of the summer.

“We are incredibly happy with the results so far. 27 schools, close to 2,000 students,” Coe said. “We’re already planning for next year how to make this day bigger and better.

Coe said there was even one school that traveled from New York state.

Ronald Moran, a fifth and sixth grade social studies teacher from Pittston Area Middle School, said he came to the game with 60 students.

“We brought our student council out today. They work hard all year to make sure that all our activities in the school run,” Moran said. “We hope they learn something new.”

Matt Daube is the program manager from Toyota SportsPlex, the Penguins training facility in Wilkes-Barre. He was set up at one of the concourse learning stations with coworker Amy Frederick to teach about friction.

“The plexiglass here is going to mimic how the puck travels across the ice, where this piece of rubber matting is going to be harder for them to slide this puck across,” Daube said.

The game was played against the Hershey Bears, another Pennsylvania team in the American Hockey League (AHL). The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are the farm team for the Pittsburgh Penguins National Hockey League (NHL) team.

Tom Riese is a multimedia reporter and the local host for NPR's Morning Edition. He comes to NEPA by way of Philadelphia. He is a York County native who studied journalism at Temple University.