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Herb Brooks Foundation launches new STEM program

By CARLEE HACKL, 10/18/19, 12:30PM CDT


The Herb Brooks Foundation (HBF) hosted its first STEM field trip on Oct. 17 at the National Sports Center. The field trip kicked off the organization’s new program that focuses on the Science of Hockey and aims to educate children who may never have had the opportunity to lace up a pair of skates. With help from the Sanneh Foundation, 40 students participated in the day’s activities on and off the ice.

The day began with an introduction to the Science of Hockey by HBF Executive Director Jon Cherney and Super Rink Operations and Programs Coordinator Pete Carlson. The first part of the session focused on the legacy of Herb Brooks, hockey 101 and the ways ice is made and maintained at the Super Rink.

The second part of the session looked more specifically at the ways STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) applies to hockey. The students began an experiment to learn about friction and the ways it affects moving objects across various surface types such as carpeting, and of course, ice.

First, the students were taught how to handle hockey sticks and move plastic hockey pucks, plastic balls and sponges across a carpeted surface in the Welcome Center. After that, the students geared up and made their way to the Super Rink where they stepped onto the ice to try the same experiment on a new surface.

What did the students discover? The objects accelerated faster on the ice due to the decreased friction from the slippery surface. In the earlier experiment, on the other hand, the same objects accelerated at much slower speeds due to the increased friction from the carpet.

Fourth grade Foxworth Elementary student, Pablo, hopes to continue learning about and playing hockey. “I’m having fun with my friends and spending time with other people,” Pablo said. Up until the field trip, Pablo had only been ice skating once.

Since October is National Manufacturing Month, the HBF believes it’s the perfect time to initiate the Science of Hockey STEM Program. These programs are known for fostering creativity and encouraging problem-solving, teamwork and experimentation. While the organization’s mission is to grow the game of hockey for kids, it also aims to improve lives on AND off the ice.

As of Oct. 18, there are four scheduled Science of Hockey field trips for third through fifth grade students. If you’re interested in learning how your school can participate in the program and/or volunteer opportunities please contact HBF Program Director Lindsey Coleman by emailing