Free ice time for youth hockey association

Free ice time at the Coon Rapids Ice Center has been donated by the Coon Rapids City Council to the Coon Rapids Youth Hockey Association.

The council action is to encourage youth in the community to learn how to skate and play hockey.

The association requested and the council approved providing up to 16 hours of ice time at no cost for the 2013-2014 Junior Cardinal Camp and other recruiting activities.

The council has approved the free ice time for the camps since they were initiated by the youth hockey association in 2008, according to Tim Himmer, public works director.

At the summer and fall series of 30-45 minute camps, participants utilize association equipment for skating and hockey instruction which serves as an introduction to the sport, Himmer wrote in a report to the council.

In 2012, there were 90 registrations for the camps which resulted in 50 new registrations at the mite and under eight entry levels, he wrote.

That number increased this year when 94 new families registered for the Junior Cardinal Camp, with 72 players from that group committing to this season, according to Himmer.

The donation of the ice time helps the association defray the cost of the camps, Himmer told the council.

The donated ice time amounts to $2,880.

But Himmer said the loss of revenue should be partially offset by an increase in mite and under eight participation allowing the association to field a full range of entry level teams.

“In future years each returning player would continue to contribute to Coon Rapids Youth Hockey Association,” he wrote.

This has been a very successful program, according to Mayor Tim Howe.

“The city’s investment is designed to encourage youngsters to skate and play hockey,” Howe said.

“It has worked very well because it gets young people involved in the long term.”

There are two sessions of the Junior Cardinal Camp this month, each with six lessons. One takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays and the other Thursdays and Saturdays.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]