THE RINKS, Great Park Ice introduce ‘Hockey at Home’ program
It’s been said that home is where the heart is, and with the unique times the world is currently living through, home is also where people are spending most of their days.
However, just because rinks have been temporarily replaced by living rooms and ice and sport courts have been replaced by hardwood floors and carpets, it doesn’t mean that the unwavering love for hockey has to be put on pause.
Through “Hockey at Home with THE RINKS & Great Park Ice,” hockey players, both young and old and of all skill levels, have access to live virtual hockey training videos, hosted by some of THE RINKS and Great Park Ice’s elite coaches, to not only further develop and hone the skills they’ve learned throughout the season, but also to have the opportunity to learn new ones during this hiatus.
“We have to think about our community first,” said THE RINKS director of marketing Jesse Chatfield. “While we understand that coming to the rink and playing hockey might provide comfort to our customers, our priority is to keep everybody safe and healthy.”
Thankfully, playing hockey and staying safe and healthy go hand in hand. From the comfort of their own homes and backyards, players can join the Zoom conference for training sessions that run 15-30 minutes, featuring members of THE RINKS coaching staff. Each training session focuses on a different fundamental of hockey from stickhandling, passing, and shooting. For players that miss the live session, they are also encouraged to visit the website to watch every session in full.
The effects are more than unilateral, as is evident in how involved the coaches are in the sessions.
“We miss coaching hockey just as much as the kids miss playing hockey,” noted THE RINKS director of hockey Rick Hutchinson. “Since we aren’t allowed to get on the ice together, we had to come up with creative ways to help stay engaged with our players.”
With minimal gear required, such as a hockey stick and a few hockey pucks and balls, participants can follow along with ease from the comfort of their own home, asking direct questions to the coaches using the chat feature, and having the opportunity to be showcased on camera during the session via the “player spotlight” feature.
While the current world events have brought along its own challenges such as practicing social distancing and self-quarantining, Great Park Ice hockey manager David Walker acknowledges that it’s brought along some worthy takeaways to be learned and applied for years to come.
“One thing that we have found is that this time has forced us to improve on how we teach and develop relationships with our customers,” said Walker. “We had to be creative with our ideas on how to coach without being right next to them, and I can easily see us continuing these ideas that we have developed now and being able to take future players farther with these initiatives.”
What is evident, however, is that these virtual training livestream sessions are only the tip of the iceberg in staying sharp and connected.
The “SoCal Hockey Hotline Podcast” recently premiered its inaugural episode in which hockey managers Jon Mainberger, Dean Wilson, Vince Valles and Walker sat down to discuss the current climate of hockey in Southern California, along with the impact that COVID-19 has had on THE RINKS and Great Park Ice.
There is also a wealth of resources available for reading and downloading, from concentration grid exercises to keep the mind sharp, to USA Hockey training tips to keep the body in shape.
“From podcasts to online lessons, to just finding resources to share, we just want to help continue developing our players and providing a sense of normalcy to them,” Hutchinson said.
Visit www.therinks.com/hockeyathome for constantly updated tips and resources and to stay connected throughout these times.
— THE RINKS Staff
(May 8, 2020)