Carolina Thunderbirds and Marley Drug Bring Floor Hockey to Local Schools

Winston-Salem, NC - In partnership with Marley Drug, the Carolina Thunderbirds are pleased to announce a new in-school sports program that adds another fun activity to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools curriculum and will help to grow the sport of hockey in the State of North Carolina. Marley Drug has generously donated $54,000 for the endeavor.

The Thunderbirds/Marley Drug Floor Hockey Program (working title) was announced today and will see sets of floor hockey sticks, nets, balls, and program curriculum manuals given out to all 60 elementary schools and middle schools in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district.

Dave Marley of Marley Drug commented on the partnership: “Youth hockey has been an important part of my family for almost 10 years. With this donation we hope to introduce the great sport of hockey to hundreds of young kids who otherwise might not be exposed to the thrill of having a hockey stick in their hands. We are fortunate to have the support of the Carolina Thunderbirds to introduce floor hockey to the K-8 grades of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools.”

The program is designed to teach the game of hockey and challenge kids who try it by using their physical abilities while learning a sport they may not be familiar with, all while developing an entirely new skill set at an athletic level. Everything from basic positioning and technique to shooting and passing drills will be taught to kids who participate in the program.

“Our overall goal is simple: Grow our great game by putting a stick in every kid's hand in Forsyth County.” Thunderbirds President/GM Scott Brand said. “Aside from the growth of hockey, the goal is also to encourage kids to be active and fit, playing a sport that is rewarding on all kinds of levels. The trickle-down effect from the success of North Carolina pro hockey teams seeps down to the college level, then to high school and juniors, and all the way to the youth level where a program like this will surely inspire kids to dream big and consider hockey as a sport to adopt for life.”

The state of North Carolina is currently seeing a renaissance of sorts in ice hockey at the professional level with the Carolina Thunderbirds (Federal Hockey League) as well as the Charlotte Checkers (American Hockey League) leading their leagues so far this season. In addition, the Fayetteville Marksmen (Southern Professional Hockey League) are in a playoff position and the Carolina Hurricanes (National Hockey League) are fighting for playoff position as of this release. 

The school district is very excited for the new program to start up, but none more so than Sara Harmon WS/FCS Health and Physical Education Manager. “Part of our elementary and middle school PE curriculum focuses on how to successfully strike an object with a long-handled implement used in such sports as hockey, baseball, and softball” Harmon said. “Safety is always a concern in these lessons and having the floor hockey equipment and curriculum provided through this donation will give us a safer way to use hockey to teach those skills to students in grades K-8. A lot of the floor hockey equipment is also suitable for use in other activity units, allowing us to expose more students to a greater variety of movement activities. It helps us provide safe exposure to more sports and more skills and that’s a win for students!”

The Thunderbirds/Marley Drug Floor Hockey Program will launch next school year at all 60 elementary schools and middle schools in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools District. It will be announced formally to the public at Friday night’s (January 25th) hockey game between the Carolina Thunderbirds and the Mentor Ice Breakers at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex.

Media contact: Brent Campbell, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, WS/FCS
Phone: (336) 727-2696

The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play, looking to build on the success of their inaugural season where the team posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-24-5-2 (W-L-OTW-OTL). The Thunderbirds also set an FHL record with over 65,000 fans through the doors in their first season and six sellout crowds. Season and group tickets are on sale now by calling (336) 774-GOAL(4625).