Variety of activities ready at new rink |

Variety of activities ready at new rink

Kathy Heicher
The crew at the new Eagle ice rink is preparing for a busy winter. Checking the equipment are, from left, Scott Ruff, Jim Sander and Sheryl Rebitzke.

Ice rinks aren’t just for hockey players.

The new indoor ice rink in Eagle will open for the season on Oct. 27 and the Western Eagle County Metro Recreation District –or, WECMRD – is planning a slate of activities at the facility aimed at appealing to everyone from beginning skaters to accomplished ice gliders, ages toddler through adult.

“We’ve got this great facility. We want everybody to enjoy it, not just the ice hockey players,” says Scott Ruff, WECMRD’s recreation supervisor. He said his agency’s approach will be to maximize use of the ice rink by offering a wide variety of activities.

Four WECMRD staff members – Ruff, Sheryl Rebitzke, Jim Sander and Beth Milton – will run the rink programs. The district will be hiring front desk staff, skate attendants, and part-time maintenance personnel.

In addition to hockey, WECMRD’s winter programs will include learn-to-skate programs, a broom ball league, family skate times and Friday “Kid’s Night” events in which local kids can mingle with friends their own age in a supervised setting.

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Among the programs that will be available for the upcoming season are the following:

– Learn-to-skate. For those who don’t already know how to skate, lessons will be offered every Thursday starting in November. Parent-tot skating lessons will be offered in the mornings. From 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., kids of all ages, ranging from pre-schooler to 17-years-old, can attend skating lessons. Adult learn-to-skate will take place from 4:45-5:30.

– Public skating. Time will be set aside for public skating every evening, Monday through Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. “We’re saving some prime times, so families can get off work, have dinner, then come in for the evening,” says Ruff.

Cost of each six-week session is $60. Two sessions of lessons will be offered: one starting in November, followed by a second session in January.

– Broom Ball. Take away the ice skates, hockey sticks and the pucks; replace them with snowboots, brooms and a rubber ball, and get ready to have some fun. A co-ed broom ball league is scheduled for Friday nights for players ages 18 and older. This is a great way to get out at the end of the week, socialize and get some fun exercise. Contact the rink at 328-5277.

– Kid’s night. Elementary, middle school,and high school kids, each on a separate night, will be invited for these Friday evening gatherings, which will feature ice skating, a meal and skate rental all for one low price. There will be music, strobe lights and a chance to kick off the weekend with friends.

“Our goal is for this facility to be the Friday night hang-out for an hour-and-a-half,” explains Ruff.

– Hockey. WECMRD is still accepting some sign-ups for youth hockey. This year, the shooter-tutor program is gone. Instead, the WECMRD hockey program will be organized along traditional league lines, with ages ranging from the elementary aged “Mini-Mites” to the high school aged “Midget” teams.

Older kids, who will play on traveling teams, will start practice the first week of November. By mid-December, all of the youth teams will be hitting regular practice.

WECMRD is also offering adult hockey programs, with B and C league divisions. Adult hockey games will be played on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Cost will run about $175 per player, which will include eight games and one team practice.

“If we can get four teams signed up this first year, that will be a great start,” said Ruff.

WECMRD also is recruiting coaches and referees for its hockey program. Commitment can vary from one day per week to up to three days per week, depending on the age level and competitive level of the team. Referees can earn up to $25 per game.

Businesses who would like to be a part of the new programs are invited to sponsor hockey teams, at a cost of $500 per team; or to advertise on the dasher-boards around the rink, at a cost for $1,000 for the calendar year. There’s also some advertising opportunities on the scoreboards, and on the ice-resurfacer.

Ruff said the rink will offer expanded hours during holiday breaks, when kids are home from school.

“We want to get people excited about it. We spent a long time working on this rink. There’s so many programs we can offer,” he said.

This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

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