Ringing in the New Year with a decade of THE RINKS hockey
The year 2019 promises to be an exciting year for Southern California hockey.
With Great Park ICE & Five Point Arena opening its doors on Jan. 4, THE RINKS will consist of nine local hockey and skating facilities throughout Southern California, including five other ice rinks (The Rinks-Anaheim ICE, The Rinks-Lakewood ICE, The Rinks-Westminster ICE, The Rinks-Yorba Linda ICE and The Rinks-Poway ICE) and three inline facilities (The Rinks-Corona Inline, The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline and The Rinks-Irvine Inline).
That number nine will be vastly different compared to just the two that launched The Rinks Developmental Program back on Feb. 13, 2009. It was that day when the Anaheim Ducks took over one ice and one inline facility and started everything that you see today.
One of the crown jewels of The Rinks Developmental Program has been the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League. Since its launch in July 2008, the league has grown from having just one team to currently hosting 46 teams from three different states and two different Canadian provinces. With Varsity Divisions 1-3, a JV Division and a JV Developmental Program, any high school student can play with pride for their team.
While it is impressive that the league has expanded to its current size so quickly, more impressive is the fact that one of its schools – Rancho Santa Margarita Catholic School – has appeared in four national championships since 2013, winning twice (2013, 2018). The championships combined with other schools’ competitiveness on the national level has validated quality of Southern California hockey compared to the rest of the nation.
While The Rinks Developmental Program has made an impact nationally, this past February THE RINKS accomplished arguably one of its finest achievements in introducing over 10,000 participants to the sport through the Anaheim Ducks Learn To Play Hockey Program, powered by Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
The four-week program is designed to give children, between the ages of 4-12, an opportunity to try the sport of hockey. Each week, participants are given all the gear and taught by expert coaching staffs in an attempt to build the base of Southern California hockey. The program’s success has been so well received that THE RINKS now offers an adult version of the program for those over the age of 16.
Continuing on the program success in the local market, The RINKS have continuously offered programs with disabilities.
The Rinks-Poway ICE is the home of the Anaheim Ducks Sled Hockey Team, while the Ducks also host special hockey. Launched in 2013, the Top Flight program, presented by CHOC Children’s, started as a street hockey league designed for special needs individuals of all ages and abilities. It has since expanded to include street hockey, ice skating and ice hockey, as well as various free events throughout the year for the special needs community.
While some of the larger accomplishments have been mentioned, Tanner Privia, marketing coordinator for THE RINKS, also made sure to note that the biggest accomplishment THE RINKS has achieved is the ability to keep ice and inline skating facilities open for the past decade.
“For a while, the trend was seeing local rinks close their doors and shut down,” said Privia. “THE RINKS have done the complete opposite. Every location has their doors open and have welcomed the public to youth and adult recreational hockey, multiple hockey camps, daily public skating, and all the non-hockey activities.
“With the amount of people we have introduced to the sport, the quality of programming that we offer, our facilities being jammed packed from dawn to dusk, we thankfully can say that we are excited to see how much more the sport can grow in the next decade compared to our first.”
For information on any of THE RINKS programming or offerings, visit www.therinks.com.
— THE RINKS Staff
(Dec. 27, 2018)