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The LAHC Initiation Program for New Skaters

THE LAHC INITIATION PROGRAM
LAHC sponsors a free Initiation learn-to-skate program each year. This program is designed for players new to hockey who want to learn how to skate and play. Though the schedule may change in any particular season, generally the Initiation Program offers 2 on-ice sessions a week. Initiation players are also allowed to rent LAHC hockey gear for free, paying only a $50 refundable deposit. Note that there is a small fee for registering for USA hockey depending on your players age. For 2018-2019 players born in 2012 and later are free. Players born in 2011 and earlier pay $50 ($40 USA Hockey fee. $10 WY affiliate fee). LAHC does not receive any funds from these USA hockey charges. Initiation players are required to formally register through the online registration on the LAHC website. There is a cap on number of Initiation players accepted each season. If the Fall session is full email registrar Amber Riffee to ask to be put on the waiting list for the Spring session.

Most players in Initiation are under eight years old, though we do frequently have skaters that are older. As part of the Initiation Program new skaters who are older would still skate with the Initiation Program. In some cases skill advancement may allow a new skater to practice and play with their age-level team if they are age appropriate for a WAHL Squirt (age 9 to 10) or older team. To move to this level of play approval must be given by both the Initiation Head Coach and the Head Coach of the age appropriate team in coordination with the Coaches' Rep (Jonathan Naughton). This is a matter of safety for both the player and their teammates.

Fall Initiation registration covers the fall ice program generally run from October through to the end of practices in December. If a player wishes to play through to the end of the season in March a prorated registration fee would apply to join the team for the remainder of the season. Spring Initiation runs generally mid-January to early-March.

A player may register only once for the Initiation Program; in any following year your player should register for their age appropriate team. If the Head Initiation Coach does not feel your child is ready for team play, contact the registrar to make accommodations to rejoin the next Initiation session. There may be a registration fee associated with registering a returning player for Initiation.  

To begin registration for the Initiation Program go to the Registration tab on the LAHC website.

TIPS FOR GEARING UP
Putting on hockey gear can be frustrating; putting hockey gear on an excited 5 year old can be impossible!  Plan ahead.  The following YouTube video will give you a good demonstration.  Take a moment to watch it.  It will help you greatly. Whatever you do...do not put the skates on first!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvefXKMi3cU

What should you wear under the gear?  Do not put on snow pants and a winter coat.  With all of the gear, your player WILL NOT get cold.  In fact many come off the ice in a full sweat.  Many kids just wear a long sleeved t-shirt and light-weight sweat pants, pajama pants or shorts.  Jeans are too bulky.

If you are getting dressed at the rink, plan on getting to the rink about 20-30 minutes prior to your practice time to get dressed.  A player should always use the bathroom before gearing up!  You can help dress your player in the lobby. Spread out as much as possible as it can get very crowded. Often the rink staff will note on the chalkboard inside the lobby what locker rooms are available for what age levels. Locker room assignments are normally for 9 year olds and older making the lobby available for our younger skaters.

Another great solution is to dress at home.  You can put all of the gear on in the comfort of your living room.  Have them just wear their tennis shoes to the rink and you can help them get their skates on once you arrive at the rink.

Note:  Often the rented skates could use sharpening before the start of the season! The rink offers skate sharpening as does Westbrook’s Pawn Shop on 3rd Street. Often you have to leave skates and have them sharpened during the day or overnight. This cost is not covered by LAHC.

Sticks also sometimes require re-taping. A coach or older player can help with this or there are various online resources for learning how to tape a stick. Hockey tape is not provided by the LAHC; players can purchase some at the rink.

Safety equipment such as a protective cup (or pelvic protector for girls) and mouth guard should be provided by a players family. The rink sells mouth guards and there are many online resources for shorts or compression shorts with an integrated cup and Velcro straps for holding up hockey sox.

Simple additions provided by the players family like new skate laces or hockey tape to secure Velcro straps can make equipment more comfortable. 

WHEN YOU GET HOME
After practice you will be coming home with a happy and tired player and a bag of wet gear. This gear will develop a life of its own if left in the closed bag.  We recommend that you air-dry the equipment after each practice.  You can open the bag or spread the gear on the floor for the night to allow it to dry completely. Hockey gear drying racks can also be homemade or purchased and can be a helpful way of teaching a younger skater to inventory and care for their gear.

For questions contact the Initiation Coordinator  Clint Connally at <connallysports@gmail.com>.