Skating on an ice rink is a thrill that Martin Hlinka seeks to share with hundreds – and one day thousands – of girls and boys from Seattle and the Pacific Northwest at the soon-to-be-completed Kraken Training Center.
“We want children to learn to skate first, to move,” says Hlinka, director of youth hockey at the training center. “You see the joy and the smiles when kids realize they can move on their own. They get better every time they’re on the ice.”
The improved skating and happy smiles will take place starting this fall at the Northgate District Three-Rink Training Center. Registration for the skating and hockey programs will open soon. You can Subscribe to our newsletter here to be notified of the registration start date and other details and news.
There will be a range of programs offered by the Kraken Youth Hockey Association and the Kraken Skating Academy, including an NHL Learning Program for girls and boys ages five to nine.
The seven-week NHL Learning Program includes free full gear, head to toe, helmet to skates and a stick. The program requirement is that children must be new to hockey and be between 5 and 9 years old. There are also Learn to Play programs for older children, adults, and children who have some hockey experience but may not yet be ready to join a team.
The Skating Association’s Learn to Skate program, overseen by Figure Skating Director Chad Goodwin, is the starting point for all participants.
“It all starts with Chad and the Learn to Skate program,” says Hlinka. “It’s our base for learning skills, so when they first put on their hockey gear in the Learn to Play NHL, the kids were already successful on the skates.
Goodwin and his colleagues will teach skating to all children (adult beginners will have similar opportunities) before the youngsters opt for hockey or figure skating tracks.
Note to Parents: Two of America’s most decorated female hockey players, pro scout Kraken Cammi Granato, and five-time world champion and four-time Olympian Julie Chu, started figure skating when mom and dad suggested. Both urged their parents to let them play hockey – and both at a time when there were no local girls’ hockey programs.
“We understand that every child will come from a different skating background,” says Goodwin. “They will be placed at the appropriate skill level and we will determine which skills to showcase. Our goal is for every skater to become confident on the ice.”
Early classes will likely include balance work and lean towards slow motion to highlight technique. The first day always includes a lesson on how to fall and protect yourself.
“It’s about maneuvering their bodies and staying safe,” says Goodwin. “Children learn to fall safely and get up on their own.”
For hockey players, once they have completed the NHL Learn to Play program, they will move forward to continue developing their skills through the internal “Squid Squad” program. Children eight years of age and older will be able to compete in Jr. Kraken 8U, 10U and 12U League teams. Children keen to become figure skaters will join the Emerald Edge programs.
One detail for parents new to the sport and / or who played themselves over ten years ago: in 2011, USA Hockey approved a rule prohibiting checking (using the body to disrupt an opponent) until what players reach level 14U.
Regardless of the skating choice, there will be “no screaming or screaming,” Hlinka says, and they “will do it in a fun way.”
The fun factor is worth repeating for emphasis. Rob Lampman, CEO of the Kraken Training Center, says: “We are committed to developing a culture at Kraken Training Center that reflects our organizational culture as a NHL team. We will develop our programs to be inclusive and supportive. , with a focus on moving the game forward through top-notch training and long-term athlete development. Above all, we always want to make it fun. “
Lampman takes the Kraken Training Center mission one step further.
“We have a responsibility at the Kraken Training Center to educate our players and the community at large not only about the game on the ice, but also about the culture of off-ice hockey. The game can offer so much on and off the ice. Through the Kraken, we hope to share the many experiences this game can offer to the community at large, young and adult players, families and fans, ”Lampman says. “We invite all members of the community to be a part of it, whether they are skaters or fans.”