California Rubber

California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Hockey

THE RINKS continuing to grow the game with recent Try Hockey For Free Day


In October, THE RINKS hosted over 100 girls as a part of Girls Try Hockey For Free Day in an effort to continue to grow the sport of hockey in Southern California.

Earlier this month, THE RINKS was at it again, hosting USA Hockey’s Try Hockey For Free Day for both boys and girls ranging in ages from 4-13.


On Nov. 10, The Rinks-Lakewood ICE and The Rinks-Poway ICE hosted their Try Hockey For Free Day in which participants were provided borrowed hockey equipment and skates to participate in an hour-long, on-rink introduction class with a coaching staff from THE RINKS. Basic fundamentals of skating, stick handling, shooting, and passing were covered at both sessions.

“Try Hockey for Free Day is one of our favorite grassroots programs that we run,” said The Rinks-Lakewood ICE hockey manager Vince Valles. “Every time we run one of these sessions, the response and turnout is always positive. Allowing participants to try a sport like hockey engages not only the player but also the parents and family members involved. Stepping on the ice for your first time is without a doubt a challenge, but when you see the smiles on players’ faces and parents on the glass encouraging their players, it makes it all worthwhile.

“Easily one of the best parts of the day is skating around the rink with these first-time players as they wave to back to their parents. You can see each kid is super happy to be doing good while their parents are so proud of what their children have accomplished. These events are awesome and introduce the great sport of hockey to those who might never have had the opportunity otherwise.”

The day was a success at both The Rinks-Lakewood ICE and The Rinks-Poway ICE.


Between the two sessions, over 100 brand-new kids were introduced in to the sport of hockey, many signing up for additional classes at THE RINKS to continue their hockey development.
THE RINKS marketing coordinator Amber Willis spoke about the impact of USA Hockey and Try Hockey For Free Day in Southern California.

“Hockey and Southern California are two words that for the longest time did not go together,” said Willis. “People didn’t know much about it and the only way kids began playing is if they had a previous connection to the sport. It was rare that a native California family had children that were into hockey – it just wasn’t that popular. That notion started to change when hockey legends like Wayne Gretzky, Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya came and played in the area and captivated the youth, but thanks to programs like USA Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free Day and THE RINKS and Anaheim Ducks Learn to Play programs, the sport took to even greater heights.

“By making hockey more accessible to the masses, kids who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to play the game are getting that chance and either start playing or become hockey fans. These are great programs for Southern California and I am excited to see where hockey will be in another decade.”

Similar to Try Hockey For Free Day, THE RINKS also offer their Ducks Learn to Play program, powered by Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. The free program also allows participants to experience the sport of both inline and ice hockey while borrowing the necessary equipment. Parents and adults can also try hockey for free within THE RINKS in their Adult Learn to Play program that introduces new players to the sport and prepares them to join a Rookie or Novice Adult League as well.

For more information on the Anaheim Ducks Learn to Play program, visit


(Nov. 26, 2018)

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