Hockey fans in a second-grade class at Chesak Elementary School in Lake in the Hills received an unexpected surprise Wednesday morning: A video message from Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who is in Sochi representing the USA Men's Olympic Hockey team.
"It was really cool," Huntley District 158 Superintendent John Burkey said.
Kane was responding to a Twitter message teacher Christy Gibbs sent on behalf of her students wishing him good luck with a #CheersToSochi hashtag -- McDonald's created the hashtag campaign and website, cheerstosochi.com, to deliver fans' cheers to individual Olympic athletes and teams. More than 5,000 messages have been sent to Sochi athletes and teams through the website.
Gibbs said she never expected to get a call from a McDonald's representative asking whether her students would like a personalized video from their favorite star.
Gibbs played Kane's video message on the classroom LCD screen leaving students in shock.
"They were very excited and very surprised," Gibbs said. "I have a lot of hockey players in my class this year, and overwhelmingly their favorite Olympic athlete is Patrick Kane. Overall, it was just awesome to see the excitement in the kids. They have been doing a lot of research on the Olympics, of course watching it on TV, and then tallying the medals in class."
The U.S. hockey team beat the Czech Republic 5-2 Wednesday and will take on Canada Friday in the semifinals.
Each student also received a hockey stick autographed by Kane, a Sochi Olympics jacket, a Happy Meal Sochi mascot, and a gift card.
"No one was really expecting to win anything out of just sending a cheer," Chesak Principal Jennifer Zayas said. "There's a few hockey fans in the classroom and, of course, that made their day."