The Rinks, Ducks launch Little Ducks Hockey Initiation program
The year 2016 has been a very exciting year for youth hockey in North America.
Earlier this year, the NHL and NHLPA announced the league-wide Learn to Play Initiative, making hockey more accessible than ever before. Children across all 30 NHL markets in the United States and Canada will be able to take part in a beginning development program to learn basic hockey skills such as skating, passing, stickhandling and shooting.
In addition to the already successful Anaheim Ducks Learn to Play Hockey program powered by Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the Ducks announced the launch of the Little Ducks Hockey Initiation Program – creating a second avenue of entry for beginning hockey players with prior skating experience. This six-week course is designed to help develop beginner hockey players in a clinic setup where multiple mini-stations allow participants to play games and work on every skill set at each session, while having fun at the same time.
“The Anaheim Ducks and The Rinks are committed to growing the sport of hockey in Southern California and the new NHL and NHLPA initiative has helped us further advance that progress,” said The Rinks marketing manager Jesse Chatfield. “The Learn to Play program is one of our primary mechanisms for growing the sport. Not only are we looking to grow the sport of hockey within our buildings, but we also have a vested interest in the entire Southern California market. With thousands of participants coming through the Learn to Play program annually, it was only a matter of time before the increased amount of interest from future hockey families demanded more attention.
“The ability to give kids the chance to develop their hockey skills before going into a more advanced developmental program or a league allows them more opportunities to touch the puck and start developing their hockey sense. The more opportunities they have like that – to work and practice in a structured but fun environment – the more comfortable and ready for they are for their first league games.”
While this initiative will help better develop the next generation of hockey stars in North America, the best part is that it makes hockey accessible and more affordable for new families to try the sport. The Little Ducks Hockey Initiation program is only $150 and includes a free set of equipment, from the helmet to the skates and everything in between. Each participant will receive the free gear when they register, lowering the startup cost and avoiding the financial burden that once plagued new hockey players. This additional bonus will allow more families to get involved in the sport at younger ages instead of resorting to more inexpensive sports, like soccer or basketball.
“The free gear is the really exciting part because it completely eliminates any reservations a family may have about taking part,” noted The Rinks marketing coordinator Craig Appleby. “This in turn allows us to show them what The Rinks are all about – developing new hockey players and making sure they have a truly great experience with our programs in the process.”
The Little Ducks Hockey Initiation program will be offered during the 2016-17 NHL season at of each of the four Rinks ICE facilities – Anaheim ICE, Lakewood ICE, Westminster ICE and Yorba Linda ICE – and partner facilities in the area, including KHS Ice Arena, Icetown Carlsbad and Poway Ice.
For information on the Little Ducks Hockey Initiation program, including times, dates, and locations, visit www.anaheimducks.com/littleducks.
— Kirstie Bender and Tanner Privia