With the school year winding down and playoff hockey in full swing, now is the perfect time to get kids out on the ice, learning to skate. This weekend, I attended an informative question and answer meeting with Matt Flynn, senior director of Youth Hockey Development. Working with Clark County School, teaching street hockey curriculum, Director Flynn works to promote the Skating Academy at all Vegas location, ensuring a consistent program. With three ice rinks across Las Vegas, and another being built in Henderson, the demand for hockey is out pacing facilities. It is important to sign up right away, to ensure a spot in a class. What better way to spend the hot Vegas summers then on the ice, learning new skills.

            Like many parents, I wanted my kids to hit the ice, stick in hand and start scoring goals. What I learned and was building the fundamentals of skating, through a structured program is crucial for any beginner before a stick can touch the ice. Since October, we have worked our way through the Snowplow Sam 1-4 levels, and this summer my oldest son will start Hockey 1. After completing Hockey 1 & 2, a child is then ready to begin the NHL sponsored “Learn to Play” 8 week development program. Children ages 5-9 are given the opportunity to learn the game of hockey, with head to toe equipment provided to them. Once finished with the 8 week class, they move on to the Lil’ Knights Cross Ice program, where they continue to learn new skills.

            Once a child is involved in the Cross Ice program, the fundamentals of skating always need some fine tuning. The High Performance Academy, High Stakes Hockey, as well as Power Skating drop-in classes are offered in the summer and throughout the school year. Hockey is a year round sport, and taking time off can put a young, developing player behind their peers. As a child progresses through the Junior Knights levels, the competition will only get better. Having the opportunity to train in a city like Las Vegas, where NHL coaches offer their expertise is one huge advantage over smaller markets. The interest in Las Vegas for hockey at all ages levels is growing so fast, demand for ice time is at record highs. Come out and see why hockey is the fastest growing sport in Nevada.

            As a parent who loves hockey it makes me even more excited to see how much my two boys enjoy skating. We skate as a family every Sunday at Sobe Ice, and there are always new skaters trying the ice for the first time. Do not be afraid to try something new, at any age. With summer approaching, find a public skate or sign up for learn to skate programs. Even adults can take classes at the same time as their children. There is a need for more women hockey players too in the house leagues around the area. I can attest to the Women’s Learn to Play on Monday nights being the most fun I have had in many years. We never stop learning new things, so give hockey a try if you have not already.

Bethany Drysdale was voted Best Hockey Writer by our readers here on Vegas Hockey