Gold Medalist Becky Kellar-Duke visits Little Falls Friday for “Hero of Play” Day

Four-time Canadian Olympian Becky Kellar-Duke, who was a blue-liner for the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team, shows off her gold medal haul to some students outside Little Falls Public School Friday during the “Hero of Play” Play day.

Pictured, Little Falls students Oliver McHugh, left, and Alex Slade eye up their targets during a game of dodgeball outside last Friday.
Pictured, Little Falls students Oliver McHugh, left, and Alex Slade eye up their targets during a game of dodgeball outside last Friday.

By Dan Rankin

Multiple gold-medal-winning Olympian Becky Kellar-Duke stopped by Little Falls Public School on Friday morning as part of a school-wide “Hero of Play” Play Day, care of Canadian Tire and the Ontario Physical and Health Educators Association (OPHEA). It made for an extra-special treat for the LFPS students on the last Friday of their school year.

“What better way to spend it than outside, being active, having fun and being part of a team?” Kellar-Duke asked the students, who had been assembled into teams containing students of different ages, from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

She also led the school in a few chants of ‘Go, Canada! Go!’

“We’re going to yell so loud the Olympians hear us on the way to Rio!” she said. “The best part for me as an Olympian was the passion that we had from the fans. When we walked through the streets of Vancouver all we heard was, ‘Go, Canada! Go!'”

Kindergartener Ahmed Al Hadid, centre, is chased by fellow kindergartener Madisyn Hunter, right, during a game of Duck, Duck, Goose.
Kindergartener Ahmed Al Hadid, centre, is chased by fellow kindergartener Madisyn Hunter, right, during a game of Duck, Duck, Goose.

Little Falls won the play day and visit from Kellar-Duke after it was selected as a Top Five school in the Canadian Tire-sponsored “Heroes of Play” program, for its dedication to promoting physical and mental health.

Kellar-Duke, 41, played defence for Team Canada at four Winter Olympics, beginning in Nagano and continuing on at the Games in Salt Lake City, Turino and Vancouver, winning three golds and a silver. She was the oldest player in the 2010 gold medal game in Vancouver, and is one of only four players, including Hayley Wickenheiser, Jennifer Botterill and Jayna Hefford to have played on all four of those Olympic Women’s National teams.

Showing off her gold medals Friday, she said that she hadn’t brought her silver medal from Nagano, but not because it isn’t important to her. “It is,” she said. “It motivated me.”

She also played in seven world championships between 1999 and 2009, racking up four gold and three silvers. The Hagersville, Ontario native currently lives in Burlington and is a mother of two.

Apart from getting the chance to meet one of Canada’s elite athletes, LFPS students also took part in a host of outdoor activities around the school and the adjoining athletic fields including Soccer Baseball, an obstacle course, hot potato and dodgeball, using equipment donated for the day by Canadian Tire.

One teacher called it a good opportunity for Grade 6 student to be leaders, as different grades were grouped together and rotated through the activities.

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