With ice hockey thriving in Santa Clarita, the Valencia Ice Station is offering a free program highlighting the fundamentals of the sport.
The Station currently offers a house youth hockey league consisting of different levels: a high school hockey league, a travel team and a junior level team — all of which can be a future career choice for those who start in the Hockey 101 program.
“Our goal with this program is to get more youth interested in ice skating and playing hockey enough to come back and join our other programs,” said Station Administrator Matt Robinson.
After signing up for Hockey 101, each player completes four weeks worth of lessons focused on ice skating, puck handling, passing and shooting.
This program is open for all ages, and is primarily aimed at skaters age 10 and under.
“There are usually 15 to 20 skaters at each lesson, between the ages of 4 to 8,” Robinson said.
USA Hockey certified coaches will lead the lessons Saturday mornings at 9 on the smaller pond rink.
Hockey 101 coaches are credentialed under USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program, in which they complete age-specific training focused on the level of play they are coaching.
All equipment necessary to play will be provided on a loaner basis, along with a complimentary jersey.
A $150 security deposit will be the only requirement for the loan, which can be a bargain with the average price of new ice hockey equipment climbing as high as $800.
“Most of the equipment that we offer for the skaters taking part in Hockey 101 is donated from the youth players in our pewee level league who have grown out of their equipment,” Robinson said.
Robinson says skaters purchase the loaned equipment a better price, and the equipment is always in good shape for beginners.
Upon completing Hockey 101, a recommendation will be made of an appropriate level league for each player to join.
The recommendation “depend on the skill of the skater,” Robinson said.
“Sometimes they will need more practice on fundamentals and will join other lessons with coaches that are available.
“Some skaters will have learned quickly enough to join our squirt or pewee level house leagues.”
The Valencia Ice Station contains two indoor regulation-sized ice rinks and one smaller pond used for youth levels and practices.
The Station sports three ice rinks, roomy locker rooms with showers, as well as individual stalls and stations to fill water bottles.
Parents with children interested in learning to play hockey should call (661) 775-8686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot in the program.