Learn-to-skate program offered again

John Ponikvar had skated when he was in high school but he had never played hockey. The Craig Youth Hockey Association's Introduction to Skating and Hockey program was the perfect chance for him to learn the sport.

"My son had been playing since he was little, so I was at the rink a lot," he said. "I hadn't skated for a long time, but I thought I would check it out."

Ponikvar was one of eight adults to participate last year in the ITSH. He moved on to join a team, but the program is back for inquiring skaters. The program starts at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Loudy-Simpson Ice Arena.

"It's a great thing for anybody, at any age, interested in learning," Ponikvar said. "They were patient and encouraging the whole time."

The program is for people ages 5 to 99, CYHA President Mike Boatright said.

"We divide them into age and skill level," he said. "Hopefully that allows them to learn with others at a similar level."

Last year the program increased by 12 participants, and Boatright said he thought the growth would continue.

"I expect it to grow," he said.

The $25 program provides four, one-hour sessions on the ice. Hockey equipment is provided for all of the youths, and there is limited equipment available for adults. Skates can be rented for $1 at the rink.

"Hockey can tend to be expensive, so we want to give a chance for those interested to try it out before they go out and get the equipment," Boatright said.

The program is designed to teach beginning skaters the basics of hockey. Current players and coaches teach the skills.

A successful clinic for Boatright is one that results in new players for the league.

"We had a lot of the kids sign up for the night league after going through Learn to Skate," Boatright said.

Registration for the clinic is open until the first night. It is better to sign up before Nov. 1 because the equipment handout will be at the ice arena that night.

People register at the Craig Parks and Recreation office. Any other questions can be directed toward Boatright at 824-2046.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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