March/April 2019

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by CRAIG PETERSEN, CIRM REAL PROGRAMS Learn to Speed Skate PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CRAIG PETERSEN 46 / MARCH.APRIL.2019 RINKMAGAZINE.COM O ne of the best things about operating an ice facility is the countless ways you can use it. Between tournaments, games, practices and open skates, filling the schedules with Learn to Skate and Learn to Play programs are a great way to increase your facility audience—and membership. For years we've successfully held a number of Learn to Skate, Learn to Play Hockey, and Try Hockey For Free programs, but bringing out a unique clientele can always be a challenge. How do we expand beyond just housing hockey players and figure skaters— whom we love—and reach a new group? Recently, The Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and The Mullett Ice Center in Hartland, Wisconsin, began teaming up to offer local youth a new on-ice activity: Learn to Speed Skate class. Located about 22 miles apart, the two facilities wanted to work together to grow the sport, and bring speed skating exposure to a more rural area. Pettit National Ice Center's Director of Speed Skating, Carolyn Spiewak, leads the group and the Mullett Center serves as a satellite location. Here are a few things that we learned, as well as helpful tips in case you're interested in bringing speed skating to your facility. Getting up to speed Speed skating was introduced by the Dutch and first became an Olympic sport in 1924. The concept itself is fairly simple, with three different types of competitive speed skating races: long track, short track and marathon. How it works Our Learn to Speed Skate program helps to maximize ice usage, sharing the ice with other internal "learn to" programs. It also gives youth athletes an option if they are not gravitating toward hockey or figure skating. Speed skating, like hockey and figure skating, helps promote physical literacy (coordination, balance, flexibility, agility, etc.). Speed Skating 101 SPEED SKATING, LIKE HOCKEY AND FIGURE SKATING, HELPS PROMOTE PHYSICAL LITERACY (COORDINATION, BALANCE, FLEXIBILITY, AGILITY ETC.). Offering Learn to Speed Skate courses

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