Besides the typical introductory one-hour sessions this weekend, Timm and other directors will make themselves available to parents, answering questions and providing information on how to sign up for Learn To Skate and Learn To Play. Beginners will be divided into three different groups according to their skill level. Members of the RoughRiders USHL team will be available for pictures and autographs following the sessions. Players from the 10U and 12U travel program will be paired with beginners to assist in putting on hockey gear, skating and shooting. Timm says this is one of the most crucial aspects of the event.
“It might be a little intimidating for a kid trying hockey for the first time to be out there with an adult,” he explained. “For me, to see our own players helping these new kids who don’t know how to skate … it’s absolutely unbelievable to see 10, 11, 12-year-olds helping the next generation of hockey players get on their feet and love the game.”
In keeping with the standard of other Try Hockey events around the country, Cedar Rapids uses USA Hockey’s American Development Model during sessions. Timm believes it plays a vital role in player retention and development.
“It groups players with similar abilities,” he said. “You’re not going to have a 4-year-old skating next to a 10-year-old. Younger players aren’t feeling as intimidated. It makes the process easier to understand.”
The RoughRiders have had the same success in all levels of their youth program as in the Try Hockey events. Over 215 kids are currently enrolled, including travel select, high school, and a house league. Team tryouts are generally held each August, but players are welcome any time after the season starts. All levels participate in weekly one-hour individual skill sessions, with one-hour practices twice a week for 10U, 12U and 14U. The club is also working with the Maidens of Mayhem, a local program for girls ages 4-14.
“We have a lot of resources with the USHL team, coaching and financial resources,” Timm said. “We’re hoping to bring in the Maidens of Mayhem officially as a RoughRiders girl’s program down the road.”
The greatest benefit of initiatives like Try Hockey events, Timm says, is the ability to offer a model for beginners who might not otherwise come in contact with the sport.
“It provides opportunity for participants to meet our current players, for them to share stories, to create those bonds,” Timm said.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.