Free events in Kansas City designed create to new hockey fanatics

Marc LaVoie
February 20, 2020 - 4:00 am
A little boy in a full hockey uniform skates and handles a puck with his stick

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kids who have always wanted to play hockey will have a chance on Saturday, and it won't cost their parents a cent.

National Try Hockey for Free Day is sponsored by USA Hockey, the governing body for the sport. Events are for boys and girls ages 4 to 9, but they can take youngsters up to 11 or 12. Loaner skates, sticks and shin guards will be provided, and children have to option to bring their own bicycle helmets. There won't be any checking or pushing.

"We're going to get everybody out there and go over basic skating fundamentals, how to hold your hockey stick, how to sweep with the puck, how to stick-handle with the puck and we'll get into some fun passing and shooting games that will keep the kids entertained," said Jimmy Petersen, a recreation director with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department.

Petersen is in charge of the Try Hockey event at Line Creek Community Center and Ice Arena at 5940 NW Waukomis Drive. The 59-year-old Chicago-area native has been playing hockey for 50 years and coaching adults and children for 30 years.

Once youngsters have hockey in the blood, they never lose their love of the sport, Peterson said.

"Going out there as a five-player unit with a goalie, you develop a sixth-sense to be able to help your teammates out, to find them, to try to score goals," Petersen said.

Try Hockey events are also being held Saturday at Silverstein Eye Care Arena in Independence and the Kansas City Ice Center in Shawnee. Participants are encouraged to register ahead of time.

Petersen says about 500 adults and children play in leagues year-round on the ice at Line Creek. He also runs Tuesday sessions for adults who want to learn how to play, with 45 minutes of drills and 45 minutes of scrimmage.

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