Ice arena opens rink to young hockey recruits

If the world of shin guards, hockey helmets and goalie gloves seems overwhelming to parents but alluring to their 4- to 9-year-olds, the volunteers at this weekend’s Try Hockey for Free Day want to help.

The event at Frontier Ice Arena offers a “no-pressure way” for families to check out youth hockey, said Jocelyn Stott, who does marketing for the Coeur d’Alene arena.

Certified coaches and other volunteers, including parents of players, will offer an introduction to the sport, putting skates on kids and kids on the ice, Stott said.

“We’ll get them out there on skates and let them walk around like Bambi,” she said. “They’re going to fall, and the parents are going to go, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ We all go through it. We teach them how to get up.”

After that lesson, children can move among learning stations that’ll touch on the basics, such as passing the puck and skating around cones. The event will end with a “miniature game,” Stott said.

For parents, volunteers will try to remove some of the sport’s mystery, talking about where to find a shin guard, how to fit a helmet and how all the Velcro fits together.

“The equipment, at first glance, can be intimidating,” Stott said.

The event at Frontier – the arena owned by the Kootenai Youth Recreation Organization – will be among similar events planned nationwide under the auspices of the National Hockey League and USA Hockey, the nation’s governing body for amateur ice hockey.

Children should dress for icy conditions – gloves would be good – but skates and other gear will be provided. Kids will receive free “goodie bags” that will include USA Hockey jerseys.

Adrian Rogers

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Frontier Ice Arena, 3525 W. Seltice Ave. in Coeur d’Alene

For whom: Girls and boys ages 4 to 9

Registration: Sign up before the event at www.tryhockeyforfree.com. Use the search box near the bottom of the page to find Frontier Ice Arena. Then click “Register now.”

More information: (208) 765-4423

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