HAVERHILL — This was better than studying for the MCAS test, no question.
It was probably better than gym class — and, some students might argue, even better than recess.
After all, it's not every day that a Boston Bruins player visits your school.
Yesterday, Glen Murray, 35, who has been a top scorer with the Bruins and an all-star, spent about an hour with students at Bradford Elementary School as part of a program to promote mathematics. The program, called Bruins by the Numbers, is sponsored by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Boston Bruins Foundation.
Murray encouraged the students to do the right things — "listen to teachers, stay in school and work hard" — and then answered their questions.
Among the things the students learned are: Murray is a surfing Canadian whose parents are from Scotland; he does not play hockey video games; and if he had a choice of any player to play with, it would be the legendary Bobby Orr.
Murray, who will play his 1,000th NHL game on March 16, lives in Winchester with his wife and three children, ages 5, 4 and 2. He said he teaches his own children respect for elders and teachers, and offered the same advice to the fourth- and fifth-grade students at Bradford Elementary.
The visit to Bradford Elementary is the only one Murray will make to a school this year. Why the special treatment for Haverhill children? It helps to have connections. It turns out that Bradford teacher Matthew Castonguay, 25, also works part time for the Bruins on game nights, and helped arrange Murray's visit.
Bradford Elementary fifth-grader Brendan Woolbert, 11, said he enjoyed the program.
"It was awesome," he said. "It was kind of cool to see a famous player."
Murray did talk business, too. He said he planned to stay in the NHL until they "kick me out," and was relieved when a trade deadline passed this week and he remained on the Bruins.