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Sens in schools program: a major success with students and community members

November 30, 2022

Since moving to the Bay of Quinte Region, the Belleville Senators have always emphasized the importance of education. One of the organization’s most meaningful initiatives brings American Hockey League hockey heroes to local schools through the “Sens in School” program.

The newly revamped program is being run in conjunction with the Hastings and Prince Edward, Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic, and Kawartha Pine Ridge school boards and focuses on two different age categories – JK to Grade 6 and Grades 7-12. The program aims to help raise awareness about the importance of making a positive impact within the Quinte community (both in and outside of school) and continuing to build connections with the next generation of athletes and Sens fans. The program allows students and teachers at participating schools to be recognized for their educational and community achievements. Along with the opportunity to learn from and interact with Belleville Sens players, participating students in the JK to Grade 6 age group are also receiving a free Belleville Sens colouring or activity book featuring the mascot Belly.

In all sessions, Senators players help to instil the values of hard work, personal integrity and teamwork while having fun answering questions about life in the AHL, playing games and reading stories to participants.

“I had a blast playing road hockey and answering questions from the students,” said Belleville Sens Captain Dillon Heatherington. “Anytime you can impact a young kid’s life, it’s meaningful.”

Centre Rourke Chartier echoed those sentiments while mentioning the importance of community out reach.

“With everything that has gone on the last couple of years with not being able to do this kind of thing and everyone being far apart. This is a big step in getting people excited again and getting out there. That’s what it’s all about.”


The response of students, teachers, and administrators has been enthusiastic in their interactions with team personnel.

“What a thrill it was to witness Grade 4 and 5 students meeting professional hockey players in their own classrooms,” said Wendi Vivian, a Grade 5 Teacher at Harmony Public School. “A flurry of questions and answers followed the introduction of two of our Belleville Senators players. Personal accounts of their hockey and fitness journeys were shared while promoting a healthy, active lifestyle to the eager group. The enthusiasm was moved to the gymnasium for fun games and plenty of smiles. Our entire day was charged with excitement and wrapped up with a large group photo and autographs. Thank you, Belleville Senators, for providing this special experience to our kids at Harmony Public School!”

“We definitely bond in this community through watching and talking about hockey, so it’s a great way to get all the kids together and be inclusive as a community and school. The students were beyond excited,” said Gina Armstrong, a grade 8 teacher at Murray Centennial Public School. “It’s amazing to have professional hockey players come in and give back to our community.”

In total, the Senators players have participated in seven visits at Trenton High School, Brighton Public School, Harmony Public School, Holy Name of Mary, Lady of Fatima and Murray Centennial Public School. The organization has several additional visits planned throughout the course of the hockey season, which are sure to inspire the student percipients in their studies and athletics.