Winnipeg Jets players read to young kids throughout the city today to kick off I Love to Read Month.

Players visit different school classes every year as part of the team’s Reading Takes Flight initiative, a program that encourages kids to read more.

Today, a Grade 2 class of kids clad in Jets gear at Whyte Ridge Elementary School got to meet forward Bryan Little and defenceman Tyler Myers.

They were one of 12 classes players visited today.

The kids were excited, including Libby and Paige, who couldn’t stop smiling after meeting the players.

“I was screaming when they came in here and jumping up and down,” Libby said.

“It was really awesome and I was so excited when I heard the Jets were coming and it was really cool,” Paige added.

Their teacher, Spencer Janicki says the kids had been looking forward to this day since they found out their classroom qualified for one of the visits.

“They’ve been buzzing for the last week since I told them,” Janicki said. “We do Winnipeg Jets math in class and the Jets are a constant topic of conversation among the students.”

Janicki says 16 of the 22 students in her class are new to Canada and being able to meet Jets players is important because hockey is a big part of Canadian culture.

“Learning about those things while also learning about reading is really important and it further builds that community for them in class,” Janicki said. “This gives them even more to look forward to when they’re cheering on the Jets.”

Both Little and Myers have taken part in this event throughout their years in Winnipeg.

“It’s really fun and you see how excited the kids are,” Little said. “I’m a big reader and any time you can encourage kids to read more is great.”

“I’ve done this for a few years now and to see how much fun the kids have with it is pretty cool for us,” Myers added.

Little and Myers said it was informative meeting kids who are new to Canada and they hope they can leave a positive impression on them.

“I didn’t realize there were some kids from China and Greece and other places,” Little said. “They learn a bit about reading and it’s cool to see them here interested in hockey as well.”

“It’s pretty fun for us to give them a little taste of Canadian culture,” Myers said.

In addition to meeting the players, the kids got signed bookmarks, autographs and copies of the Winnipeg Jets children’s storybook “Whiteout: A Winnipeg Jets Story.” 

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