More Than Fun for Boys and Girls
By James Carlton • Official Kids Mag
Photos Special to Official Kids Mag
Ice hockey isn’t something most people associate with Northwest Arkansas, but, with the help of some fun-loving locals, it’s growing in popularity. The Jones Center, located in the heart of Springdale, is home to the NWA Youth Hockey League’s Ice Hogs, and they have a real, high-quality ice rink!
The Ice Hogs divisions are all coed, and include the Mites (kids age 8 and under), Squirts (ages 9-10), Peewee (11-12), Bantam (13-14), JV and Varsity (15-18). The youth league doesn’t allow checking (rough contact) until age 13, so it’s a safe and fun learning environment for everyone.
Jade Ross, 10, and her sister Lotus-Pearl, 8, are hockey ambassadors to girls everywhere.
“There’s not much difference between boys and girls,” says Lotus-Pearl, “and your gender doesn’t matter. With enough practice, anyone can play hockey.”
Jade works alongside the President of the Youth Hockey League, actively recruiting more girls to play. She wants to be faster and better than all the boys. “Hockey is more than just a game,” says Jade. “It teaches you good values and life lessons like teamwork, self-confidence and perseverance. You won’t get anywhere in life if you don’t try again when you fail.”
Lincoln and Kendyl Forseth have been playing hockey since they were 2 and 4 years old. When they saw their dad playing in a rec league, they wouldn’t take no for an answer!
“Win or lose, I just want to play,” says Lincoln, age 5. He thinks kids everywhere should give hockey a try. “My favorite part is just having fun,” he says, “passing, shooting, and fighting for the puck.”
The next Try Hockey For Free day is February 23rd at the Jones Center, where they lend out equipment and teach some basic skills to kids who might be interested in playing hockey.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” says 7-year-old Kendyl of playing competitive ice hockey. “It feels like being in a miniature NHL game!”
There’s an awesome opportunity for kids who have never played ice hockey before, and it’s called Learn to Play — with the Dallas Stars. For $85, you get 6 weeks of hands-on learning from real pros and head-to-toe hockey gear (including helmet, skates and a hockey stick) that you get to keep!
- The NHL (National Hockey League) was established in 1917.
- Bobby Hull shot the fastest puck in recorded history, at 118 miles per hour.
- The Zamboni, the machine used on the ice to keep it properly maintained, was named after Frank Zamboni. He invented the machine in 1949.
- Hockey pucks have three-inch diameters. They are frozen before each game so that they don’t bounce during the game.
CHECK OUT THESE SITES FOR MORE HOCKEY INFO!