News / Calgary

Young Calgary Flames fans give reading a shot

Students were visited by Flames players on Thursday to launch the reading incentive program called Reading…Give it a Shot!

Nikola Rosic, 9, has his Calgary Flames jersey signed by Dougie Hamilton at Monsignor J.S. Smith Elementary School on Thursday.

Jennifer Friesen/For Metro

Nikola Rosic, 9, has his Calgary Flames jersey signed by Dougie Hamilton at Monsignor J.S. Smith Elementary School on Thursday.

Amidst high fives and a few rambunctious shrieks, a pint-sized “C of red” pledged to give reading a shot.

Students at Monsignor J.S. Smith Elementary School were joined by three Calgary Flames players on Thursday to launch a hockey-fuelled reading initiative.

The incentive program, called Reading…Give it a Shot!, launched more than two decades ago. With the chance to win jerseys, game tickets and visits from players, school-aged children are awarded a hockey card every time they complete 100 minutes of reading.

“When they see their favourite stars reading, they feel total incentive to read as well,” said Din Ladak, president and CEO of TEPF.

“They relate to the sport, they relate to the players, they relate to fame and they also relate to the equality of it – because everybody has access to reading and they just have to get the right spark to do that.”

Harvey the Hound, the Flames’ centreman Freddie Hamilton and defencemen Deryk Engelland and Dougie Hamilton entered the gym to sign autographs for the jersey-clad crowd and talked to them about reading.

The players ran in, high-fiving the students, and offered some advice and a few book recommendations themselves (including Engelland’s shout-out to the classic “Green Eggs and Ham”).

Kylen Aiken, 13, is an avid hockey player and fan, and he brought his Flames jersey to school on Thursday to be signed by Dougie Hamilton. He has seven hockey cards to-date, but says he want to keep reading to get more.

“I think it encourages more kids to read,” said Aiken. “Because it’s with the Flames so we’re excited to meet them and see what they have to say about it.”

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