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 - UPDATED 10/01/2023
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 2023 sessions to choose from (dates and times subject to change by Ohio University):

  • Oct 5 – Fall Open House (6:30-7:30pm)
  • Fall 2023 Thursday Sessions: Oct 12th - Nov 16 (6:30pm or 7:30pm)
  • Fall 2023 Saturday Sessions: Oct 14th - Nov 18th (10:15am or 10:45pm)
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 Area.  To register, visit Ohio University's RecShop.

Learn to Play Hockey for Fall 2023! - UPDATED8/30/2023
2021-LTP3.jpgAlso in partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the AYHA is pleased to offer a Winter 2023 Learn to Play program at Bird Ice Arena for children ages five 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. 

2021-LTP5.jpgAs part of the $135 registration fee, all of the necessary hockey equipment (a $600 value) is provided for each youth player, and they get to keep the gear upon completion of the program.  Each class is on Tuesday evening from 6:45pm to 7:30pm at Bird Ice Arena for the following dates.


  • October 17, 24, & 31
  • November 7, 14, & 28
  • December 5 & 12
Advance registration is required, and space is limited.  You can register your child for the Athens session at the following Columbus Blue Jackets link until October 10, 2023:

Learn to Play Hockey Registration

In order for families to receive their hockey gear prior to the first class, registration must be completed prior to October 10, although we recommend registering earlier as each year the class fills up quickly.  As part of registering using the above link, you will first create a parent account and then an account for your child.  Once registration is complete, you will receive an email confirmation with details on how to order your child's equipment, including step-by-step video instructions on how to size each piece from the equipment provider, Pure Hockey.

Upon successful completion of the program, Learn to Play participants can move directly into the AYHA 6U/8U/10U leagues.  For more information on the Learn to Play program, visit the Columbus Blue Jackets LTP site.

defn-blue-puck.JPGBlue 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).

For more information, please Contact Us.

Updated 2023-08-30.