‘Learn To Play Hockey’ program starts next week

For those who are interested in playing hockey but never felt like they had the chance, the opportunity may present itself next week.

The Northern Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association (NCCYHA) is hosting its “Learn To Play Hockey” program, starting Sept. 16 at the Steele Hall Ice Arena. The cost is $70 for nine separate hour-long sessions.

The program is geared towards the mites age group which is eight and under, although it is open to anyone under 18 who is interested in learning how to play the sport. Individuals will learn the fundamentals of skating and other basic hockey skills through station based activities that have an emphasis on fun.

“We put a lot of emphasis on players having fun during practice, and they will not even realize that they are developing valuable skills for the game of hockey because they are having so much fun,” said NCCYHA President Shaun Fadale.

A fun atmosphere is essential in all sports, because if you are not having a great time, you should probably not be doing it. Fadale guarantees youth hockey will provide the perfect environment to have fun and develop life long friendships. Fadale, who is now in his 40’s, still plays and is able to exercise his passion for the game which he has loved since his youth.

“Hockey is unlike your typical high school sport in the fact that it is not over once you graduate, there are plenty of opportunities for you to continue playing,” said Fadale.

“We are trying to get people out here to try hockey in the same regard as youth soccer. We want to eliminate the stigma that you need a background in hockey to become a part of it, anyone is welcome to come play,” he said.

Fadale believes once you get that chance to fall in love with the game for the first time, you will be hooked for life.

Another stigma associated with the sport of hockey is how expensive it is to participate in. These costs can pile up when you add up equipment, ice time and registration fees. However, for participants in the program equipment will be provided to them at no extra cost.

“Equipment is at a limited supply, so it is first come first serve. But we should have no problem getting everyone interested in joining out there to play” said Fadale.

The “Learn To Play Hockey” program will also provide an opportunity to continue into the Steelers mites program with your initial entry fee being put towards the registration fee for mites, making your first season more affordable. You can register and make your payment through www.nccyha.com. If there are any further questions about the program you can contact the board members on the website.