Anaheim Ducks Host Holiday Shopping Spree for Students from The Wooden Floor

Last week the Anaheim Ducks participated in one of my favorite events that they do for our community—taking some of the awesome and talented kids from The Wooden Floor on a holiday shopping spree.

For the seventh year in a row, the Ducks have partnered with the Santa Ana-based after school dance program for an afternoon of shopping, where professional hockey players get to show these students the true meaning of the spirit of giving.

Corey Perry, Clayton Stoner and Francois Beauchemin, accompanied by Beauchemin’s wife, Marie, Ryan Kesler’s wife, Andrea, Mark Fistric’s wife, Geena, and Perry’s fiancée, Blakeny, hosted 10 students from The Wooden Floor as they pushed shopping carts all around Target in the Irvine Spectrum while the kids selected gifts for themselves and their families.

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This was not just another shopping trip for these kids. Classified by HUD as extremely low-income, this was an experience of a lifetime, one that would be giving them a Christmas they otherwise would not have.

I spoke with single mother Martha Garcia, whose son, Martin Sapien, was among those chosen to attend the event.

She told me through tears how she has taken a leave of absence from work to go back to school to finish her masters degree. Because of this, she told her kids that Christmas might not be what they are used to.

“It was such a blessing when I got the phone call that my son was selected to go on the shopping spree,” said Martha. “I couldn’t wait to go run and tell him. I think it’s so great what the Ducks do to give back to the community.”

And Martin, who spent the afternoon shopping alongside Francois Beauchemin, had a fantastic time with his new hockey buddy.

“I think it’s awesome because I got to get a lot of stuff for me and my family,” said 12-year old Martin.

The defenseman was impressed with how Martin kept his family members in mind while he was shopping.

“I was with Martin today, and he picked out clothes for himself and then we went into the toys department, and he’s such a great kid, the first thing he thought about was finding things for his brother and sister,” said Beauchemin.

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Clayton Stoner was paired up with Carlos Dominguez, and he helped the 12-year old pick out a new skateboard, pants, socks and jeans.

“I really appreciated Clayton helping me shop,” said Carlos.

Stoner returned the sentiment.

“It was super fun,” said Stoner. “Carlos and I bonded and it was fun to see how excited he was. He picked out a lot of stuff that he really needed. He’s going to have a great holiday, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”DucksHolidayShoppingSpree 2014 Collage02

The Wooden Floor has been helping to change lives in our community since 1983. Each year, the arts-based youth development program works with 375 low-income students and uses dance education and performance to break the cycle of poverty.

Additionally, the non-profit provides services to their students and families such as academic tutoring, college scholarships and family services, all with very tangible results.

Since 2005, 100 percent of The Wooden Floor’s graduates have finished high school on time and have immediately enrolled into college, compared to about 35 percent of their socioeconomic peers. Those are tremendous numbers.

“The Wooden Floor breaks the cycle of poverty through dance. It sounds outlandish, but it’s true and it’s amazing what we accomplish through our long-term dance program,” says the Director of Communications and Marketing at The Wooden Floor, Payal Kumar Avellan.

“We do serve a very low income population, so what the Ducks are doing here today is so amazing. Not only are they getting a Christmas, they’re also getting that mentorship, so they know that they are important. They know that they count.

“A lot of messages they get in everyday life contradict that, so these opportunities go a long way in giving them the power and hope to break the cycle of poverty.”DucksHolidayShoppingSpree 2014 Photo01b

After the shopping spree was finished, the fun continued for the kids with some time on the Irvine Spectrum ice rink with the pros. It was definitely a day these students will never forget.

“Just to be able to put confidence in them,” said Perry of the event. “That’s the biggest part. It will help them get to bigger and better things.”

I’m a big believer in the arts and the power they have to transform lives. So to see a program like The Wooden Floor promote dance in such an intentional way for these kids—and use it to help change their future—is something I can definitely support.

And to see my favorite hockey team support and value their efforts as well, and go so far as to make the holiday season memorable for these kids each year, that makes it even better.

Read here for more stories from the holiday shopping spree hosted by the Anaheim Ducks for The Wooden Floor.

For more information on The Wooden Floor and how they use dance performance and education to break the cycle of poverty, visit thewoodenfloor.org.

Holiday Giving–Anaheim Ducks Style

Looking for some fun ways to do some giving this holiday season? The Anaheim Ducks have several ways for you and your family to give and help support our community. Whether you are a hockey fan or not, check out some of these simple and affordable options that will help make the lives of local families a little brighter this year.

 

9th Annual Wild Wingers Kids Club/CHOC Kits For Kids Donation Drive

Share a Wild Wingers Kids Club Kit with the awesome kids at CHOC this month by donating one or more kits. This year’s membership features some great items including a Kids Club Captain Ben Lovejoy jersey T-shirt, a Ducks light-up wristband and a Wild Wing bobblehead. Donors will be rewarded for helping in this cause by having the opportunity to earn prizes.

KitsForKids

For kids and their families who have to spend extended time in the hospital, receiving these fun items will definitely put smiles on their faces.

Visit anaheimducks.com/choc for more information and to donate.

 

Anaheim Ducks Toy Drive

Join the Anaheim Ducks as they collect toys for the annual Anaheim Ducks Toy Drive benefitting the Spark of Love Toy Drive with the Anaheim Fire Department

Bring new, unwrapped toys books and games to the Ducks December 10th home game or bring your donation to any of the drop off spots during the entire month of December at each of THE RINKS locations (Anaheim ICE, Corona Inline, Irvine Inline, Huntington Beach Inline, Westminster ICE, Yorba Linda ICE) as well as the Anaheim Ducks Team Store.

ToyDrive

Also, stop by the Anaheim Ducks Team Store where an exclusive Anaheim Ducks Foundation holiday ornament will be for sale for $20. For each ornament purchased, the Anaheim Ducks will donate a toy to the Spark of Love Toy Drive. These same ornaments will also be available for purchase at Duck the Halls at The Market Place, Edwards Theatre Court on December 6th, 13th and 20th, and at the Anaheim Ducks Skating Rink at the Irvine Spectrum on December 6th and 13th (weather pending).

Those who drop off a donation at THE RINKS, Anaheim Ducks Team Store or any of the Ducks events at The Market Place or The Irvine Spectrum will receive a 2-for-1 public skating pass (limit one pass per person redeemable at any of THE RINKS locations).

And for those who want a chance to get out on the ice and skate this holiday season, stop by the Anaheim Ducks Holiday Toy Drive Skate Party on Wednesday, December 17th from 7:00pm – 9:00pm at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE. Those who bring new, unwrapped, toys, books and games can skate for FREE that evening and will have the opportunity to skate alongside Anaheim Ducks Alumni, Wild Wing and the Power Players.

Visit anaheimducks.com/toydrive for more information.

 

Mighty Max and CHOC

Read the story of “Mighty Max” Maldonado and his eventful entry into the world this past summer. CHOC Children’s repaired his tiny heart when he was less than one day old and now his family is sharing their story in hopes of helping other families and babies just like theirs.

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Join the Anaheim Ducks in supporting CHOC by pledging to donate for every goal the Ducks score this season. All donations are tax deductible and will help CHOC continue the work of saving and helping the lives of babies and children in our community.

Visit choc.org/ducks for more information on Mighty Max and how you can donate.

Let Rubio’s Help You Celebrate the Holidays

It might sound a little strange to suggest picking up some fish tacos and burritos for your holiday celebration this year, but we are unique in how we celebrate the holidays here in OC, wouldn’t you agree?

When we host large family gatherings at our house, whether it be for birthdays or other holidays, one of my favorite go-to food solutions is Rubio’s. Their catering is fantastic—delicious, affordable and the customer service has always been top-notch.

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The fresh Mexican food that Rubio’s is so well known for is packaged in convenient-sized catering meals that serve small groups to big crowds. I always go with the build-your-own taco bar, the burrito platters and trays of taquitos for the kids. Whenever I’ve served Rubio’s food, it’s always been a big hit.

Ordering is made easy by going online to rubios.com where you can browse their product offerings based on which store location is nearest you. You can either have the food delivered or pick it up yourself, which is what I typically do. And every time I show up, the food is ready to go and packed into these awesome reusable totes. I’ve never had any issues with my orders, but even if I did, I’m guessing their staff would do what it takes to fix it.

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If you are a fan of lobster, Rubio’s is currently featuring several premium limited time offerings with Langostino Lobster, including the Langostino Lobster Burrito, Enchiladas and Surf and Turf Two Taco Plate.

Rubio’s remains committed to serving sustainable seafood when possible, with selections such as Alaska Pollock, Atlantic Salmon, shrimp and tilapia, all of which are 100% sustainably sourced. Their sustainable seafood options are indicated on their menu boards with a special icon so customers can make the choice upon ordering to help preserve the ocean environment.

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The brand is also currently undergoing a redesign of their 60 California-based restaurants, a renovation effort with expected completion at the end of 2015. The fast casual chain that got its start back in 1983 in Mission Bay is also planning a logo update, adding Coastal Grill to its name, along with the addition of seven new locations.

I’ve always enjoyed Rubio’s as an option for fresh, great tasting food. Their tacos are a favorite and as I said above, you can’t go wrong with their catering–any time of year.

Visit rubios.com for more information on their limited time menu items featuring Langostino Lobster, their catering menu and more.

On Role Models and Dreaming Big

They all crowded around at the end of the rink, my daughter and her teammates, in their jerseys and gear and skates, their faces pressed up against the glass, waiting to see her come out onto the ice.

A hockey rock star was in their midst that day, and they weren’t going to miss her big entrance.

The Lady Ducks cheered as two-time U.S. Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey silver medalist and professional women’s hockey player, Hilary Knight took the ice and joined a practice session with the Anaheim Ducks. In town to participate in the Ducks inaugural Girls Play Hockey Night and in support of USA Hockey’s “Girls Try Hockey for Free” event on October 12, it is believed to be the first time a female skater (non-goalie) had ever practiced with a NHL team.

Knight is one of the best female ice hockey players in the world, and she showed it in her practice time with the Ducks, skating stride for stride and pass for pass with the big boys. All with a huge smile on her face.

“To be able to practice at the NHL level was something I aspired to do,” said Knight. “It was an unreal experience, and I hope I get the opportunity to play in an exhibition game some time in the future.”

When the girls on the glass got the nod, they quickly strapped on their helmets, grabbed their sticks and hurried over to the other rink inside Anaheim Ice, where Knight joined them for some of their own practice time.

As much as was made about Knight’s skating with the NHL players, I think maybe the bigger story that day was her time on the ice with the Lady Ducks, the seven to eleven year olds, the next generation of female hockey players, and the mark she left on them.

“Being able to see the young faces out on the ice for the first time, it’s a pretty remarkable and honorable experience in itself,” said Knight of her time with the Lady Ducks. “I remember when I was that age, looking up to my role model. I don’t think of myself as such, but it’s great to give back. I was happy to have the opportunity to skate with them. They’re good skaters, they looked like they were having fun.

“The biggest thing I stressed with the younger girls is just to have fun. And if you listen to your coaches, it will get you pretty far.”

The following evening, Knight participated in an exclusive meet-and-greet session at Honda Center prior to the Ducks final preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

And with many of these same Lady Ducks players sitting at her feet, Knight spoke about how when she starting playing the sport, there was no women’s ice hockey in the Olympic Games. But that didn’t stop her from dreaming big.

“I turned to my grandma when I was five years old and said, ‘I’m going to be in the Olympics’”.

She spoke of her own hockey idol, Hockey Hall of Fame member and U.S. Olympic Champion, Cammi Granato, and how meeting her at a young age shaped her view of her future in the sport.

“I remember when I was your age,” Knight said to the girls, “I used to go to the Cammi Granato [hockey] camps. It was great because I got to see all the Olympians and be on the ice with them. It motivated me to want to be in the Olympic games even more.

“And that’s actually one of the reasons why I wear the number 21 right now because Cammi Granato was the face of women’s hockey when I was growing up and I thought if I can get this number, I could continue to try and fulfill her legacy. She’s a tremendous role model. Now that I’m older, I realize all the things that she had done for young girls like me growing up. I know I have a huge responsibility to grow this game.”

She talked about her mom and what a strong, influential force she was in her support of her daughter’s endeavors, never dismissing the idea that Hilary could one day become an Olympian.

“When I told my grandma that I was going to be in the Olympics, she pulled aside my mom and said, ‘Girls don’t play hockey,’ and my mom looked her right back in the eyes and said, ‘Oh mom, get with the times.’ So you can imagine my mom’s fervor for being a great role model in the sport.”

After taking a few questions from the crowd on hand, Knight signed autographs, posed for photos, and passed around her Olympic silver medal from the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

As the girls approached the table, their eyes and smiles so big, Knight didn’t rush them through. She engaged with every one, talking with each girl, asking questions such as her favorite color, which position she played and her favorite type of candy.

And I could see in their eyes that this was an experience these Lady Ducks would not soon forget.

Don’t ever underestimate the power moments like these have on young girls and their dreams.

For my own hockey girl, who spent the following days talking about her Olympic-sized experience with anyone who would listen, I thought about the impact meeting someone like Hilary Knight could have on her dreams.

I thought about the enormous role that I play in her life as her mom, her supporter, her champion, and how that, too, will shape her future in this sport that she loves.

And I thought about courage, having the courage to dream big, to play a sport that maybe some still see as “not something girls do,” and how important it is to instill in our daughters the courage to follow their dreams and be who they want to be.

“We have to have a lot of courage to stand on a stage and speak about what we do and pursue this great dream,” said Knight about the role she and her teammates play in growing the sport for girls. “Hopefully when you guys grow up, you’ll have even better opportunities than we’ve had.”

Amen to that, Hilary. Amen to that.

#GirlsPlayHockey

 

**Photo of Hilary Knight with Lady Ducks player Jackie Fisk courtesy of Chantal Chenier-Fisk.

 

 

 

Anaheim Ducks Die Hards Booster Club

After starting the 2014-15 season on the road, the Anaheim Ducks finally return to Honda Center ice on Friday with a solid 3-1-0 record, ready to kick off a five-game homestand with a matchup against the Minnesota Wild.

I wrote recently about how you can get your kids connected with Ducks hockey by signing them up for the coolest club in town, the Wild Wingers Kids Club presented by UC Irvine.

The Anaheim Ducks Official Booster Club, the Die Hards, is also back this season with one of their best kits to date. Presented by The Tilted Kilt, just $50 will get you a membership that includes:

- Die Hards Backpack
– Andrew Cogliano Bobble Head (complete with missing teeth)
– Die Hards 3⁄4 Sleeve T-shirt
– Die Hards Pint Glass
– Die Hards Chrome License Plate Frame
– Die Hards Membership Card
– Exclusive Anaheim Ducks Die Hards Silver and Gold Ticket Packages
– Invitation to Die Hards Kickoff Party, VIP Skate Party and End of Year Party
– Invitation to Ducks Road Trip and Flight
– Watch party and volunteer opportunities

This is a passionate group of fans who love hockey, the Ducks and their community. In addition to cheering on their favorite team, they volunteer their time throughout the season for service projects like the CHOC Walk in the Park at the Disneyland Resort, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and many of the programs and initiatives the Ducks provide to help grow the game locally.

They have a new feature this year called the Die Hard Member of the Month, where they profile a Die Hards member and his/her Ducks dedication.

You can find them outside Section 214 at Honda Center during this homestand and every Ducks home game, where you can purchase your Die Hards membership. Or purchase online by visiting ducksdiehards.com.

And be sure to follow the Die Hards this season on their social media outlets where they communicate with fans, announce exclusive watch parties and provide special offers and giveaways. Join the Die Hards this year, support the Ducks and don’t miss a thing!

Facebook: /anaheimducksdiehards

Instagram: @ducksdiehards

Twitter: @ducks_die_hards

Anaheim Ducks Wild Wingers Kids Club

The Anaheim Ducks are getting ready to kick off their 2014-2015 season, and there isn’t a better way to get your family connected with Ducks hockey than through the coolest club in town, the Wild Wingers Kids Club, presented by UCI.

This year’s membership is full of great items, discounts and parties, so you and your kids will be ready to be at Honda Center to cheer on the Ducks.

One of the things my kids always look forward to each season is finding out who the Kids Club Captain will be. And with the announcement of Ducks defenseman, Ben Lovejoy, I may have been just as excited as my kids.

The New England native is fast becoming a fan favorite not only in my house, but among Ducks fans everywhere. Acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins at the end of the lockout in February 2013, the “Rev” has been a regular with the Ducks since he arrived and is in the midst of a three-year contract he signed prior to the 2013-2014 season.

And is he excited about being this year’s Wild Wingers Kids Club Captain? Without a doubt.

“I’m very excited,” said Lovejoy when asked about serving as Kids Club Captain this year. “It’s absolutely an honor.”

Lovejoy may be one of my favorite players to speak with because he gets it. He’s smart about the game, but even more than that, he knows his role as an Anaheim Duck goes beyond the ice, and he understands what it takes to get kids engaged in the sport.

“One of the coolest things for me as a professional athlete is being able to interact with kids,” says Lovejoy. “I think that this is such a special place, and if we can get more and more kids involved with the Anaheim Ducks, I’m all for it and excited to be a part of that.”

For only $25, this is what this year’s kit includes:

• One (1) Ticket Voucher to a Select 2014-15 Anaheim Ducks Home Game

• Buy-One-Get-One Free Ticket Voucher to a Select 2014-15 Anaheim Ducks Home Game

• Free Admission to: Welcome Party, Honda Center Skate Party, and Annual End of the Year party at Knott’s Berry Farm, where club members will get to meet Ben Lovejoy and other select Ducks players

• Ben Lovejoy Jersey T-Shirt

• Ducks “Voice Activated” Light-Up Wristband

• Wild Wingers Kids Club 12-Month Wall Calendar

• Ben Lovejoy “Life-Size” Growth Chart

• Exclusive Wild Wing Bobble Head

• Wild Wingers Kids Club Membership Card

• Membership Discounts to: Hockey Giant, Guitar Center, Queen Mary, Medieval Times, The Rinks, and the Anaheim Ducks Team Store presented by Reebok

• Invitation to Anaheim Ducks Learn to Play

To purchase this year’s kit, just visit wildwingerskidsclub.com and sign up to join. The kit is regularly priced at $25, but until October 4, use promo code WILD WING and receive $5 off. You can also stop by Section 214 at Honda Center during any Ducks home game and purchase your kits there as well.

I have written in this space many times about how I believe this program is not only a great deal, but is also the perfect way to get your kids outfitted and to a Ducks game for a very reasonable price. When it comes to getting kids connected with the sport of hockey, no team does it better than the Ducks.

Be sure to follow the Wild Wingers Kids Club on their social media outlets throughout the season for news and updates!

Facebook: /wildwingerskidsclub

Instagram: @wildwingerskidsclub

Twitter: @Ana_Ducks_WWKC

Anaheim Ducks 5th Annual Mini 1-on-1 Tournament

The change of the seasons from summer to fall may not be too noticeable in the daily temperatures, but the arrival of fall means the arrival of hockey and the Anaheim Ducks are back getting in their preseason workouts as they prepare to kick off the 2014-15 campaign on October 9 in Pittsburgh.

As the season gets underway, so do the many youth hockey programs and events hosted by the Ducks each year that help to grow the sport locally. This includes the Anaheim Ducks G.O.A.L. Mini 1-on-1 Tournament presented by Hockey Giant.

In its fifth year of looking for the best youth breakaway shooter and goalie in California, the tournament features expanded divisions and some awesome grand prizes.

Every player who enters receives the following:

–Ticket to an Anaheim Ducks game
–Anaheim Ducks CCM hat
–Opportunity to compete against other shooters and goalies in a breakaway competition

 

Qualifying Rounds:

Saturday, October 18 at Westminster ICE
Saturday, October 25 at Yorba Linda ICE
Saturday, November 1 at Anaheim ICE
Saturday, November 1 at San Diego Ice Arena

Semi-Final Round

Saturday, November 15 at Honda Center

Divisions and Tournament Prizes

MiteBorn after December 31, 2005
–Championship Round: Sunday, November 23 at Honda Center during 1st intermission when the Anaheim Ducks host the Arizona Coyotes

–Grand Prize: Opportunity to face-off against Anaheim Ducks players in a shootout competition

SquirtBorn between December 31, 2003 and December 31, 2005
–Championship Round: Friday, November 28 at Honda Center during 1st intermission when the Anaheim Ducks host the Chicago Blackhawks

–Grand Prize: Trip to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio

Pee WeeBorn between December 31, 2001 and December 31, 2003
–Championship Round: Sunday, December 28 at Honda Center during 1st intermission when the Anaheim Ducks host the Vancouver Canucks

–Grand Prize: Opportunity to face-off against Anaheim Ducks players in a shootout competition

BantamBorn between December 31, 1999 and December 31, 2001
–Championship Round: Sunday, January 4 at Honda Center during 1st intermission when the Anaheim Ducks host the Nashville Predators

–Grand Prize: Meet-and-greet with Anaheim Ducks player

High SchoolBorn before December 31, 1999
–Championship Round: Sunday, January 11 at Honda Center during 1st intermission when the Anaheim Ducks host the Winnipeg Jets

–Grand Prize: $500 Hockey Giant shopping spree

Registration is $30 OR, new this year, there is the option of registering for FREE with the purchase of any CCM item at Hockey Giant in Anaheim or at hockeygiant.com. Click over to ducksgoal.com to review the registration details.

Last year, the tournament saw close to 400 participants from all over Southern California. Here’s a recap video of youth players showing off their skills and vying for the top prizes.

So if you have some youth hockey players in your home, or you know of any among your family or friends, make sure they sign up to participate in this fun experience.

Visit ducksgoal.com for more information and to register.

Anaheim Ducks Host Elementary Students at Rookie Camp

Some local kids got the opportunity of a lifetime last week as students from Mattie Lou Maxwell Elementary in Anaheim were welcomed as special guests at the Anaheim Ducks Rookie Camp.

As a part of the Anaheim Ducks’ S.C.O.R.E. Day, fifth and sixth graders from the school attended a practice held at Anaheim Ice where they got to see Ducks prospects and rookies train in preparation for the upcoming season.

The students watched as names like Nic Kerdiles (Ducks 2012 NHL Entry Draft second-round pick), Rickard Rakell (Ducks 2011 NHL Entry Draft first-round pick) and Nick Ritchie (Ducks 2014 NHL Entry Draft first-round pick) ran through drills and a scrimmage in hopes of making a good impression with the Ducks’ coaching staff. From the stands, the kids cheered for every highlight-reel goal and spectacular save throughout the morning.

The 28 students in attendance were selected for this unique event due to their past participation in the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E Street Hockey program at their school, a free 10-day physical education curriculum that the Ducks provide to local partner schools, developed in conjunction with the California Physical Education Standards for 4th grade students.

After practice concluded, the students and the players ate lunch together inside the rink’s Club 32, while the students interviewed the players and gathered information they will use to complete a writing assignment and class presentation.

The questions asked of the players, developed by the students and teachers prior to the event, ranged from the curious, “Have you ever cried on the ice?” to the insightful, “Did you go to college? If so, do you think it helped you as a professional athlete?”

Mattie Lou Maxwell fourth grade teacher, Kristin Jones, knows this was a once in a lifetime experience for these kids.

“We’re encouraging the students to work on their interviewing skills and the development of primary sources for their writing assignment,” said Jones. “From the information they’ve gathered, they will write about the experience in a personal narrative and then present to the class what they’ve learned.

“Because these kids have played and represented our school in the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Street Hockey program, they understand the game and can appreciate watching the practice and hearing what these players have to say.”

As the players sat down to eat and chat with the students, there were some nerves to start, on both sides of the table. But after the conversations got going, the kids and players were all smiles. Ducks captain, Ryan Getzlaf, and right-winger, Corey Perry, even stopped by briefly to check in on the group. By the end of the meal, many of the students said this was “a really fun experience” and “a lot of fun.”

The players enjoyed it as well.

“It’s been great to meet these kids,” said Ducks prospect Nic Kerdiles. “They’re just trying to get to know us and find out about our background. I’ve been telling them about my time at [University of] Wisconsin and how important school is.

“Being from here (Irvine), it’s great to see the growth of the game locally.”

And while the learning experience behind this day may have been focused on the students, Anaheim Ducks Director of Player Development, Todd Marchant, says these types of events are just as important for the club’s prospects.

“It’s a requirement for these players to be a part of the community,” said Marchant. “It starts with Henry and Susan [Samueli]. It’s a part of our culture to support our community as an organization.

“It’s a unique, but casual setting here today with the communication and interaction. Both the kids and the players take a lot away from this.”

The Ducks newest first-round draft pick, Nick Ritchie, agrees that this is all a part of the Rookie Camp experience.

“It’s great to see all of these kids here, and it’s great to give back to the community,” said Ritchie. “It’s been a good week.”

And for the kids from Mattie Lou Maxwell Elementary, being able to enjoy a meal and conversation with some of hockey’s future stars is an experience they won’t soon forget.

 

The award-winning Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum Of Recreation & Education) program, developed in 2005, has been impacting over 28,000 students annually throughout Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties through in-class education and physical education initiatives, all provided for free to participating schools.
For more information, visit ducksscore.com.

Barbeque Bacon Burger – Winder Farms Burger Contest

I would never refer to myself as a foodie, but we love to barbeque at the Russo house. We live in an area where you can practically barbeque year-round, and we definitely take advantage of that.

So when I was approached by Winder Farms to participate in a burger contest using their farm fresh products that they deliver right to your door, I was game.

It’s my husband, John, who is the “master of the grill” around here, and he’s been making delicious burgers for us since I met him over 20 years ago. So we took his yummy go-to burger recipe and gave it a barbeque bacon twist for our entry. The items from Winder Farms that we used for this creation were dropped at my door on the designated day before 8:00am in a reusable insulated bag. Love that! Here is how we put it together.

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs. ground beef

1 egg

1/2 onion, chopped

parsley flakes

garlic salt

pepper

1 pkg. applewood smoked bacon

sliced mild cheddar cheese

lettuce

tomatoes

hamburger buns (I used cracked wheat)

barbeque sauce (use your favorite brand/flavor)

 

When John makes hamburgers to grill, he always adds an egg, chopped onion, parsley flakes, garlic salt and pepper to the ground beef before forming them into patties. This makes the burger infinitely more flavorful before ever adding any other ingredients, condiments or spreads. To take it up a notch, he added some crushed bits of cooked bacon (about 6 pieces of bacon) to the burger meat. Set the rest of the cooked bacon aside to top your burger.

Once you’ve combined all of the burger ingredients and made the burger patties, grill them over a lower flame until cooked to your preference. We added the sliced cheddar near the end of the cooking time to make sure it was good and melted.

Using only barbeque sauce as the spread on the buns, we added lettuce, tomato and some slices of that bacon to round out this meal—and I will say, this burger is a meal in itself.

We all love bacon in our house, so this was an instant winner. John took the other half of the onion, chopped it and grilled it and added it to his burger. Feel free to do the same, as well as try some other cheeses such as Swiss, provolone or Colby jack.

I’ve never used home delivery for groceries before, but Winder Farms makes it easy and delicious. They have over 300 farm fresh products that they will deliver to you once a week. Known as the “farmers market on wheels,” they provide this service for those “who value providing their families with healthy options, but don’t necessarily have time to make a trip to the local farmers market or multiple specialty grocers.” That sounds like most of us, yes? And their website is easy and intuitive to use, making the process even simpler.

Thank you to Winder Farms for the opportunity to try grocery home delivery. It was a great experience.

And for those of you who try the burger, happy barbequing!

 

 

Giveaway: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Zoo Party

Summer and ice cream.

It’s like they’re meant to go together, right?

So when the 1st birthday of a very special little girl came around this month, it was an easy decision for our family and our dear friends to meet up with all of our kids at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour to celebrate.

Since all of us adults are Orange County natives, and since none of us had been back to Farrell’s since its OC resurgence, we spent the better part of the evening reminiscing about visits to the splendiferous shop years ago for friends’ birthday parties and other celebratory events.

Inside today Farrell’s (the one in Downtown Brea was where we visited), it’s all there, just like it was when we were kids. The straw hats, the drums, the sirens, the over-the-top exuberant staff. And the ice cream. Lots and lots of yummy ice cream.

We were all a bit optimistic as to the size of our stomachs as we ordered a full dinner before ever getting to the ice cream. And I’ll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at how fantastic Farrell’s food is. My memories of visits as a kid were all about the ice cream. But dinner was just as delicious.

We started with a couple of their Shareable Starters, including the Old-Fashioned Onion Mountain and Chili Cheese Fries, and they were both great. I was already getting full at this point, but it was on to the main entrees.

I had the Gastronomicaldelicatessenepicurian’s Delight (go ahead, try and say it out loud!) or Gastro for short, and it was amazing. A sandwich that used to be served in a three-foot long version, today’s shorter version for one comes with corned beef, ham, oven roasted turkey breast, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and Italian dressing on a parmesan roll. Served either hot or cold (I had it hot). And I substituted the standard sea salt fries on the side for Grown Up Mac and 4 Cheese. That mac and cheese was almost a meal in itself.

The kids’ meals have plenty of great options too, including the Grilled Cheese Samich, Chickity Dippers and Grilled Chicken Breast, with the option of either fries or fresh fruit on the side and choice of drink included.

The accompaniment to your meal at Farrell’s is the sirens and singing for all the celebrations—and just about everyone who eats there is celebrating something—so it’s not a quiet or intimate place.

But it’s super fun, especially when they bring the World Famous Farrell’s Zoo to your table. Created by Bob Farrell over fifty years ago, it’s five-and-a-half pounds of awesomeness, including 30 scoops of ice cream.

And if you have anyone in your group with nut allergies, not to worry. We had one in our group that night and Farrell’s was great about accommodating this very common issue. They keep nut-free ice cream (like chocolate, strawberry, vanilla) and utensils in a separate area, so no worries about cross-contamination during preparation of the sundaes. This gave our friends peace of mind.

And for all of my Angels Family readers, this is the second season that Farrell’s is the official sponsor of the Jr. Angels Kids Club. All SoCal Farrell’s locations are selling a limited number of the kits that include:

- 2 Angels Game Ticket Vouchers
– Official Membership Passport
– Exclusive Jr. Angels Kids Club shirt (youth L only) featuring MIKE TROUT
– Jr. Angels Sunglasses
– Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants Gifts
– First in Line for “Kids Run the Bases” on select dates during the summer (June – August)
– Plus other exclusive gifts, including Farrell’s only offers valued at over $30 when purchased at a Farrell’s location

Safe to say we all ate more than we should have, but it was oh, so good. The kids loved it, and were engaged and entertained the entire time. Even the little birthday princess had a ball. We are grateful to Farrell’s for hosting us and allowing us to celebrate a special birthday with our friends.

Do you have something special coming up that you’d like to celebrate at Farrell’s? They have generously provided 2 Farrell’s Zoo Parties for me to giveaway here on the blog. Each Zoo Party includes a Farrell’s Zoo Sundae and soda for up to 10 people and can be used at any Orange County Farrell’s location. (Reservation for the party is required. Additional food and people can be added for charge.)

Just leave a comment below to enter. The giveaway will remain open until 9:00 pm Sunday, August 3. At that time, I’ll select two winners via random.org and will notify the winners via email.

Good luck! And whether you win or not, be sure to get yourself out to Farrell’s sometime this summer. Just make sure you arrive with an empty stomach.

This giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to Sherri D. and Tirzah Lowe!!

And thanks to all who entered!