Learn to Skate & Learn to Play Programs (Athens Youth Hockey Association | Athens Ohio | Bird Arena)

PrintLearn to Skate & Learn to Play Programs
Before you are ready to register your child for a AYHA hockey league, you may consider taking a Learn to Skate and/or a Learn to Play program, both of which are offered at Ohio University’s Bird Ice Arena.  Learn To Skate and Learn To Play programs are a great, affordable way to introduce your child to the ice, where the emphasis is on fun and gaining skills in a no-pressure environment.


Learn to Skate Program
2021-LTS.JPGLearn to Skate is offered by Ohio University, which maintains a corps of excellent college student figure skaters to teach classes for children as young as three years old all the way up to adults.  The program is based on the Learn to Skate USA curriculum, which includes Snowplow Sam Levels 1 through 4, Basic Levels 1 through 6, and JR Blades / Free Skate.   New skaters will learn the fundamentals, such as forward and backward skating, turns, crossovers, and how to stop.  To learn more about the different levels, please visit https://www.learntoskateusa.com.

Snowplow Sam and Basic classes meet once a week for six weeks and are 30-minutes each, while the JR Blades / Free Skate sessions are 1 hour each.  There is an open house event and two Fall 2021 sessions to choose from (dates and times subject to change by Ohio University):

  • Thursday October 21, 2021 – Fall Open House (6pm-7pm)
  • Fall 2021 Thursday Session: Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 2, & Dec 9 (either 6:00-6:30pm or 6:30-7:00pm)
  • Fall 2021 Saturday Session: Oct 30, Nov 6, Nov 13, Nov 20, Dec 4, & Dec 11 (either 10:30-11:00am or 11:00-11:30)
Registration for a session is $90, skate rentals can be added to the registration fee if needed, and parents can select either rental figure skates or hockey skates when they arrive at Bird Ice Arena.

Link to RegisterOhio University RecShop Learn to Skate  (scroll down the OU page to find your exact Level, Date, and Time offering)


Try Hockey for Free on November 9!
2021-LTP4.JPGDo you have a 5- to 9-year old who wants to try hockey?  In partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets Get Out and Learn program, the AYHA is sponsoring a free, one-hour introductory clinic at the Bird Ice Arena on Tuesday November 9 from 7:15 - 8:15 pm.  Complimentary skate rental is provided, and participants will received a hockey stick, winter knit gloves, and a jersey to keep.

Advance registration is required, and space is limited.
  You can register your child for the Athens session at the following Columbus Blue Jackets link:
Get Out and Learn Registration

Participants are encouraged to bring a helmet from home (bike helmet is acceptable). A limited number of helmets will be available at each session to borrow. Hockey equipment is not required to participate but is welcomed if you have your own and wish for your child to wear it. Children will receive age-appropriate instruction from USA Hockey certified coaches, and families should arrive at Bird Ice Arena 30-minutes before the start of the session for check-in at the front desk, to pick up their complementary items, and get prepared to have fun on the ice!  Basic skating experience is recommended, but not required; the clinic will have numerous instructors who can assist with first-time skaters.


Learn to Play Hockey
2021-LTP3.jpgAlso in partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the AYHA is pleased to offer a Winter 2021/2022 Learn to Play program at Bird Ice Arena for children ages four through ten.  Created jointly by the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League, Learn to Play is a program that provides a unique opportunity for families to join the hockey community and for participants to develop fundamental skills to help them succeed both on and off the ice.  This program is a fun, affordable environment for children to experience hockey for the first time with Columbus Blue Jacket staff and AYHA coaches.  As part of the program registration fee, all of the necessary hockey equipment is provided for each youth player, and they get to keep the gear upon completion of the program.

defn-blue-puck.JPGDetails for the Winter 2021/2022 Learn to Play program are being finalized (including the Columbus Blue Jackets online registration site), but tentative dates are available below.  All events are from 7:15pm to 8:15pm at Bird Ice Arena, although dates and times are subject to change until finalized in October.
  • T.B.D. – Blue Puck Drop-In 
  • Tues Dec 7, 14, & 21 – Learn to Play program begins
  • (no class during Ohio University's break)
  • Tues Jan 4, 11, 18, 25, & Feb 1 – Learn to Play program continues

Blue Puck Drop-In is also an informal opportunity to try hockey, but with the children wearing their full Learn to Play hockey gear.  It is also an opportunity to drop off new skates for sharpening at Bird Ice Arena, as unsharpened skate blades do not have proper edges, which makes it difficult to skate or even stand (arena staff are currently offering a 3-day turnaround on skate sharpening).

Upon successful completion of the program, Learn to Play participants can move directly into the AYHA 6U/8U league.  For more information on the Learn to Play program, visit the Columbus Blue Jackets LTP site.

For more information, please Contact Us.

Updated 2021-09-29.