You are reading

NHL-Sponsored Affordable Kids Hockey Program Returning to LIC in January

A popular NHL-sponsored ice hockey program for kids is returning to Long Island City in January and its limited spaces are filling up fast. Children taking part in the Learn to Play program at LIC-ICE (Photo: LIC-ICE)

Nov. 29, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Kids, get your skates on!!

A popular NHL-sponsored ice hockey program for kids is returning to Long Island City in January and its limited spaces are filling up fast.

The program, called Learn to Play, aims to develop the next generation of hockey players by providing affordable hockey lessons and equipment to kids.

The lessons are being offered to both boys and girls aged 5 through 9 to encourage them to take up the sport. The program will take place at a specialized indoor ice-skating facility called LIC-ICE, located at 10-12 46th Rd. which features a 2,300-square-foot rink.

Learn to Play aims to reduce some of the obstacles associated with accessing the sport that includes high equipment costs and ice time.

Participating kids will be provided with “head-to-toe” equipment including an ice hockey stick and helmet, skates, pads, gloves, a jersey as well as an equipment bag and more. The children who participate in the lessons will get to keep the equipment that typically costs around $450.

The New York Islanders organize the program as part of a national initiative where the NHL and NHL Players’ Association team up with clubs to teach children how to play hockey. The organizations heavily subsidize the costs of the program, providing children of all backgrounds with the opportunity to play the game, according to Lucia Grosek, who manages LIC-ICE.

“You see kids of every ethnicity at our facility and around half of them are boys and half are girls – it’s a beautiful melting pot,” Grosek said.

“We hope to attract as many kids as possible from Queens and from across the Tri-State areas over the coming months.”

A maximum number of 12 children per session will receive coaching from New York Islanders-affiliated coaches, with drop-in sessions featuring former Islanders players Arron Asham and Radek Martínek. There will be three coaches at each session, Grosek said.

Sparky the Dragon, the mascot for the New York Islanders, also visits the sessions.

Children taking part in the Learn to Play program at LIC-ICE (Photo: LIC-ICE)

Organizers are now accepting children for their winter/spring program.

The program dates are designed to cater to the school calendar and the facility is conveniently located for parents to drop off their children, Grosek said.

The winter/spring courses will run once a week — from Jan. 2 through June 23 — with costs per participant starting at $533 for 13 sessions.

An 18-session course comes in at $738 per player while the most expensive course is $902 for 22 sessions.

More than 1,000 kids have graduated from the program since its inception and around 95 percent of them are still playing the game, a marker of the program’s success, Grosek said.

The winter/spring course will mark the program’s seventh year at the facility.

Many of the young prodigies come from across the Tri-State area given the program’s wide appeal.

“This is a great opportunity for kids to try the program and learn how to play hockey,” Grosek said. “There has been an overwhelming demand.”

A key factor to the program’s success, Grosek said, has been the small class sizes which ensure that each player is given the full attention of the coaches.

Grosek said the program has had a positive impact on the area with local interest in hockey skyrocketing over the last number of years.

“I see young kids walking around Long Island City with the Islanders bags and hockey sticks, it’s pretty cool,” Grosek said.

“They have become big fans of the sport and we are becoming a New York Islanders stronghold.”

Registration and more information on Learn to Play can be found at the following link: https://ltpislanders.leagueapps.com/events/1795663-l.i.c.-ice

Advanced registration is required for the program, with early enrollment encouraged because of the high demand and shrinking availability.

Readers can learn more about LIC-ICE and its facilities here: http://www.licice.com.

LIC Ice Learn to Play posters

LIC ICE (Photo by Michael Dorgan)

The LIC ICE facility, located at 10-12 46th Rd. (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Big Game in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.