Arcadia Ice is Growing Youth Hockey...One Off Season At a Time
“We love hockey and we want to give everyone a chance to play,” stresses Jim Rogers, Owner/Operator of Arcadia Ice. “It doesn’t make sense that we are sending kids away and they end up playing other sports”. It was this fact that led Rogers to officially create a recreational spring and summer hockey program at Arcadia Ice.
During the winter months Arcadia is home to the Arizona Bobcats, but unused ice from April through August set the stage for their new recreational hockey program. Utilizing USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM), the program is age and skill level appropriate with its learn to skate focus, cross ice games, and basic stickhandling. Open to players ages 5 to 18, the program gives players of all skill levels and ability a new avenue to learn the game of hockey. It encourages everyone from the casual skater looking for a summer activity, to the hockey curious who has never laced up skates before, to give hockey a try.
Arcadia is making it fun too. As on-ice coach Leeor Shtrom states, “We want to make kids fall in the love with the game so you aren’t going to see these players skating lines for six weeks!”
The program will also serve to feed the High School, AA and AAA teams in the Valley as it gives new players the chance to develop important skills with the potential to be competitive elsewhere during the regular season. “We want to grow the game of hockey and there just aren’t enough of these house and rec programs out there,” says Rogers. “This is a non-traditional and less stressful way to learn the game of hockey.”
With a two day a week, Saturday and Sunday only schedule, that also means less stress on the family where hockey is the second sport, Shtrom explains. The program is designed as a way to build athletes, not just hockey players, so kids who play basketball, soccer, baseball and football are welcome, and encouraged, to come out and join. “There may be older kids who want a break from their primary sport,” Shtrom says. “We tell our hockey players to go out and do other things during the summer, other athletes should too.” Both Rogers and Shtrom also agree that in Arizona, in 100+ degree heat, there are worse places to be than in an ice rink!
The plan to keep growing hockey at Arcadia doesn’t stop with the spring and summer recreational program. Rogers talks of plans to expand Arcadia Ice from its one sheet of ice to two in the near future. It is this expansion that would enable Rogers to run a house program during the regular season as well as spring and summer. “There are some kids who don’t make the AA or AAA teams and they deserve a place to play too,” Rogers said. “The idea is to encourage these players to keep coming back, season after season, and off season after off season.”
With ongoing registration, the Arcadia Ice recreational program is growing, and enrolling skaters every week. Hockey equipment and skates may be rented for a refundable deposit so cost is minimal for a player to get started. The program will run through August and players ages 5 to 18 can sign up for the Arcadia recreational spring and summer hockey program call Arcadia Ice at 602-957-9966.