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Young “Dragons”

Liam Eveleigh, who converted old hockey sticks and lumber into a variety of products, was the winner of a Grade 5 class project based on the Dragons Den show. [Scott Barber / The Observer]

An avid hockey player with the Waterloo Wolves AAA hockey program, Liam Eveleigh knew just where to turn when teacher Bruce Rohr tasked his Grade 5 class at Riverside Public School with a “Dragons Den” assignment.

Liam Eveleigh, who converted old hockey sticks and lumber into a variety of products, was the winner of a Grade 5 class project based on the Dragons Den show.[Scott Barber / The Observer]
Liam Eveleigh, who converted old hockey sticks and lumber into a variety of products, was the winner of a Grade 5 class project based on the Dragons Den show. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
“I have plenty of old hockey sticks from playing hockey over the years,” he said, referencing his burgeoning hockey career, which began at age three.”

With those old or broken sticks, Eveleigh crafted a number of unique items, each with both practical purpose and creative flare.

Called, “The Shaft Craft,” Eveleigh’s business proposal was a home run –  or, er – an overtime winner.

He presented the idea in front of an enthusiastic group of classmates Tuesday at the Elmira elementary school.

“The Shaft Craft is a business about the passion for the sport of hockey. I build various items from pucks and broken hockey sticks. One hundred per cent of all sales are given to a local charity, Friends of Hockey, to help families with the cost of playing hockey.”

The creations: A table, built out of wood and broken hockey sticks; a clock, from a puck and a hockey stick; a barbeque brush, with a hockey stick handle, a traditional brush and hockey tape for the grip; and a picture frame made from hockey sticks.

The idea for the project came from the Junior Achievement assembly held last month. After watching the pros show what it takes to launch a business, Rohr’s Grade 5s pressed their teacher to create a similar assignment.

It didn’t hurt that the group seems to be big fans of the popular TV series Dragons Den and its American spin-off, Shark Tank.

“This was a homework assignment with the purpose of keeping the students engaged while integrating technology, by building websites for their projects as well,” Rohr explained. “The class really did a great job; they worked really hard and showed a lot of creativity.”

Other projects included healthy eating cupcakes, a flip flop sock (a toe sock to wear with flip flop sandals), an air soft park, a clothing store, multi-purpose theatres that would show movies and live productions and a dance studio.

But Eveleigh’s hockey creations certainly stood out.

“It’s nice to see when a student works really hard on a project and really gets into it,” Rohr said. “The whole class was so enthusiastic; everyone was eager to get to present next.”

Now, Eveleigh is going to try to keep building, with an eye on donating earnings to Friends of Hockey, a Woolwich-based charity which sees funding and hockey equipment given to area families to help mitigate the sport’s financial barriers to access.

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