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Jackalopes use art to teach students about hockey

June 7, 2021

Hockey is a sport that is fast, intense, and exciting. Everything moves and flows at a frantic pace where players and pucks combine to weave a tapestry of excitement on the ice. Like many works of art, there are always small details that escape the eye. Hockey is no exception.

The surface of the rink, the texture of a puck, the notches on a stick. The unnoticed but critical details that define the sport and decide a game, or even an entire season. These details were not lost on one Odessa art teacher, nor on his local hockey team the Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Both saw an opportunity to teach students about texture while providing a hands-on experience with the sport of hockey.

Texture refers to the surface quality in a work of art -- the way that things look or feel. 

The "Elements of Art" have a different spin in this teacher's approach. Incorporating ice hockey into teaching "texture," and bringing it alive for his students. While brainstorming an idea, Odessa, Texas middle school art teacher Gerald Scovel thought of using various elements of ice hockey in his teaching. In turn, bringing the sport directly into student’s lives!  Dedicated students, and their parents, started on a Saturday at the Ector County Coliseum -- home to the Odessa Jackalopes. Using an actual "game-used" goalie stick as their paintbrush each art student swashed paint across their canvas.   

The experience allowed the students to interact directly with the sport in a way that allowed them to showcase their own artistic creativity!

"It was very difficult, but it was fun!" added sixth grade art student Kade Esparza. 

Later, each sixth grader covered a hockey puck in paint, and then rolled it carefully across the canvas, leaving the puck's texture and letters on their painting. "I enjoyed seeing all the textures and patterns that came from the puck!" said student Ellis Macaw.

After choosing an action silhouette to paint in solid black, each student chose their color combination for the goalie netting -- which was provided by NHL supplier Pro Net Sports. Gently lifting the netting off of their painting completed each student’s unique "one-of-a-kind" hockey paintings!     

"To be honest, this project was a wonderful experience to have. I believe in our everyday lives we will be asked to be creative in one way or another, so art is an important part of our curriculum,” said Scovel. “I had so much fun working with different tools you wouldn't normally use to paint with."

Highlighting this project was a night of exciting hockey and a class photo with the Jackalopes as each student proudly showed off their painting. The players congratulated each student and goalie Cooper Black, who is committed to Dartmouth College, took individual photos with each proud student!  

This is just another example of how hockey is more than a sport played on frozen water. It is more than just a game played by highly skilled individuals. It can also be a form of art that offers something to everyone.

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