By CRAIG HARVEY
OBSERVER Sports Editor
There were plenty of smiles at the Steele Hall Ice Rink on Saturday as for the second straight year, the Norhthern Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association held Try Hockey For Free Day.
OBSERVER?Photo by Craig Harvey
Five-year-old David Girdlestone takes part in Try Hockey For Free Day on Saturday at Steele Hall?Ice Rink.
Several volunteer coaches were on hand to teach an estimated 60 kids how to skate.
"It's awesome," Mark Wojcinski, NCCYHA coaching and divisional coordinator said. "I was pleased with the turnout and pleasantly surprised. It was a better turnout than last year. Every time we have to prepare for something bigger because we get more than we expect. There were a lot of smiles and wet butts from falling. I tell them, I have been playing 30 years and I still fall down. That kind of helps them get up and try again."
Enrollment numbers for youth hockey are slightly up from last season and Wojcinski credits that fact to the programs offered to the area's youth.
Next week begins a 10-week session for any first- or second-year players called Learn To Play Hockey.
"It's more formal instruction where kids get to learn the nuts and bolts of hockey," Wojcinski said.
"Retention is a big thing for us and making sure kids and families have fun. When kids come back, it's really great to see the kids returning."
The cost of the program is $60 and equipment is included for those who do not have their own. After the 10-week session, if a player wants to continue playing, the $60 will go as a credit towards registration fee for the season.
For more information, visit www.nccyha.com.
There will be another Try Hockey For Free day this winter. The date is not yet set.