NHL All-Star Weekend leaves lasting impression on Bay Area students

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The NHL All-Star Weekend is expected to bring millions of dollars into the city, but its non-monetary impact is already being felt in a positive way as the league promotes STEM learning through the game of hockey.

Nearly 1,000 students and teachers from more than two dozen schools throughout Northern California were granted private access to the Fan Fair on Friday. It's all part of the league's Future Goals program, which aims to spark student interest in STEM.

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Alex Rigsby, 2018 Olympic Gold Medalist in Women's Hockey, was one of this year's featured speakers.

"Some of these kids, no matter what dream they're pursuing, or what passion that they have, they'll continue to do well in school, so that someday they can reach that goal as well," said Rigsby.

Parents say hearing from Rigsby and others in the hockey world, about how science and technology is connected to sports, was an opportunity that couldn't be missed.

One parent told ABC7 News, "It's amazing to see how connected everything is, and especially being in the Bay Area, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Science, technology, engineering and math-- it opens the doors to career opportunities for the kids, so I think it's wonderful."

The NHL All-Star weekend is projected to have a $10 to $15 million economic impact on the city through hotels, restaurants, temporary jobs, and overall spending. John Poch, executive director of the San Jose Sports Authority said it's a much-welcomed boost, especially downtown, during what would typically be a quiet time of year.

"It's not only the rabid Sharks fan base, but you know, the league brings in over 5,000 guests in alone, so it gives us a chance to really showcase the city," said Poch. "We have a great workable, walkable, downtown footprint."

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Economics aside, educators say students who were invited to take part in Friday's special STEM panel, learned more than just about hockey.

"It lets them know that they do matter, now that they have a chance to be successful in today's society."
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