Learning to Skate attracts all ages, abilities
Steve Crisp, 15, had been on the ice to skate before, but he had never suited up in hockey gear.
Crisp was one of 32 participants Tuesday night to put on the pads, lace up the skates and grab a stick for the Craig Youth Hockey Association’s Learn to Skate.
“I had played street hockey and ice skated before, so I thought I would try to learn ice hockey,” the Moffat County High School sophomore said. “I thought I would try something new for the winter.”
Mike Boatright, the president of CYHA, said that the idea for an inexpensive clinic for beginners originated after the Loudy-Simpson Ice Arena became refrigerated.
“Before, when we had natural ice, the season was only about a six-week window and it wasn’t very expensive to be in a league that was so short,” he said. “Now that it’s refrigerated, the costs to upkeep the facility are more expensive and so are the leagues.”
The house league costs around $150 and the traveling team is twice that much. Boatright said a major reason for the $25 clinic is to let parents see if their children like hockey before they dish out the big bucks.
Boatright’s reasoning is exactly why Austin Sadvar’s parents signed him up.
“My parents said they wanted to see if I liked it enough to play,” said Sadvar, who said he has skated and played street hockey in the past. “I’m also playing basketball and will be wrestling later so they wanted to see if I had enough time.”
For other beginning hockey players, the clinic offered an opportunity to have more ice time and instruction.
John Kirk, 9, played hockey in the house league last year. According to Boatright, Kirk’s dad signed him up so he could possibly become good enough to play on the traveling team.
Kirk said he had another family influence to be in the clinic.
“My sister (Hannah, 7) wanted to learn but she didn’t want to do it by herself,” he said. “I guess I also thought I still had things to learn.”
Boatright said that of all the sports he has played, he thought hockey and baseball were the most difficult to learn.
“In no other sport do you have to almost learn to walk again,” he said. “Hockey is one of the most complex sports to learn.”
Along with being one of the most complex sports, Boatright said it is one of the most addictive.
“If any husbands pick it up, I would warn their wives that it is a consuming sport,” he said. “I was the first one at my work to try it and now I’ve got five guys that work with me that play.”
As far as the clinic itself, Boatright said he was pleased with the turnout. With 32 campers from age four to 36, he thought the first time was a success.
“We’ve got different levels from five-year-olds learning to skate with the assistance of a cone, to adults trying to improve,” he said. “It is definitely easier for the younger kids to pick it up.”
After the first night, the participants appeared to be getting what they had hoped for out of the clinic.
“I was slipping and sliding all over the place,” said Crisp, who ran cross country in the fall for MCHS. “It is definitely a different kind of conditioning than running.”
“It’s nice to be able to get on the ice and learn to do all of the hockey stuff,” Sadvar said.
“I hope I can play in the house league now.”
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.
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