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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Area students traded in the classroom for some ice time Thursday.

Shawnee Co. Sheriff Brian Hill dropped the puck for the Topeka Pilots special “Kids Day” game. Nearly 3,500 students from area schools packed Landon Arena for the event. Thanks to sponsors, the treat came at no expense to the schools.

The Topeka Zoo also was on hand to let kids experience some of their educational exhibits before heading to their seats.

Keli Lee, vice president of development for the Topeka Pilots, says the day was a great way to expose kids and their parents to the sport of hockey. Plus, it was special for their players, too.

“The energy that these kids are going to bring, the noise that they’re going to bring into this arena, it’s going to be an experience that some of these players have never had before to play in front of almost 3500 people,” she said.

Brendan Wiley, director of the Topeka Zoo, said their organization was involved in the day, as they share common goals with the hockey program.

“The Topeka Pilots are putting on a great family activity not just today but at all their games this year, and as a representative of kind of the quality of life and quality of place in Topeka, we want to support all of those family things,” he said.

The Pilots won Thursday’s contest against Amarillo, 2-1. The teams meet again Friday and Saturday for 7:05 p.m. contests.

Learn more about the Topeka Pilots and see their schedule here.

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