|Teemu Selanne, Chris Pronger, Bobby Ryan take part in the official puck drop with Ducks executives Tim Ryan and Michael Schulman, along with youth players. |
The Ducks officially kicked off a new era by launching its rink development program, entitled THE RINKS, with a special kickoff event held Monday at one of its three owned-and-operated facilities, Corona Inline.
Ducks players Teemu Selanne, Chris Pronger, Rob Niedermayer and Bobby Ryan were part of the ceremony, along with a player Q&A held for the several hundred fans in attendance. Afterwards, the players coached teams in a ceremonial first game involving youth players.
"This is where you build future hockey fans because you get these kids involved and excited about the sport," Pronger said. "Inline is huge because you can play all year long and it’s a great way to get kids into the sport."
Ryan, who grew up playing inline hockey in Southern California, had spent some time in the Corona Rink as a youngster. "This certainly brings back memories," Ryan said. "This is awesome for me because I played here and it’s great to see more rinks being built and to be able to give back to programs like these. It's so important for us to get involved and build the game like this in Southern California."
Teemu Selanne, who has three young sons playing youth hockey, said the opening of more rinks is, "so huge for this area. It’s great to see more and more kids able to get involved like this and have more opportunities."
|Selanne and Ryan coached one of the youth teams in the ceremonial first game. |
The event was held as part of Hockey Weekend Across America, held Feb. 13-16.
THE RINKS program also includes locations in Huntington Beach (THE RINKS - Huntington Beach Inline) and Anaheim (THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE). The Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club now owns and operates three local skating facilities, consisting of two inline facilities and one ice rink.
"We’ve only got three today, but THE RINKS program allows us to have consistency," said Ducks Executive Vice President and COO Tim Ryan. "When a participant or a family comes into one of these facilities, they can look around and say, ‘Hey, we know what we’re getting when we walk into one of these rinks.’
"The good news is that these three rinks are all at capacity, but that means we need to find more. We’re going to keep looking under every rock and if people want us to become part of their rink, we’ll do it. If rinks need to be built, that’s what we have to do. Hopefully in the next five years, we’ll be looking at 5 to 10 more.
The Corona facility is the program’s debut inline rink.
|Pronger reacts while coaching one of the youth teams. |
“We are very excited about this program and the prospects of youth hockey development in Southern California, along with being a part of Hockey Weekend Across America,” said Ducks CEO Michael Schulman. “With the recent growth of ice and in-line hockey in this community, we hope to be able to add more rinks in the future.”
All three locations are now registering youth and adult players for their hockey programs. For registration information, visit www.The-Rinks.com.
The Corona Inline location is conveniently located adjacent to the 91 and 71 freeways in Corona, giving the facility high visibility to over 232,000 passing cars each day.
THE RINKS - Corona Inline: Prado Rd., #101, Corona, CA 92880
THE RINKS - Huntington Beach Inline: 5555 McFadden Ave., Huntington Beach, 92649
THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE: 300 West Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, 92805