As the action around T-Mobile Arena is just getting started, the three community ice rinks stay busy year-round with the goal of growing and developing young skaters.
Going up and down the Golden Knights roster, you'll find that the most valued skill among the team is its skating. The speed of the game at the NHL level is considered by many to be faster than ever, and learning to skate is the focus well before any player gets a stick in their hands. Around Southern Nevada young skaters start with the Skating Academy, presented by Health Plan of Nevada.
"The skating academy is the most crucial layer of our development pyramid," said Golden Knights Sr. Manager of Youth Hockey Development Matt Flynn. "Initially it does not matter whether their goal is to become a hockey player, competitive figure skater or just learn the basics to enjoy recreational skating."
The Skating Academy presented by Health Plan of Nevada is prevalent now more than ever. Year-round scheduling is available at City National Arena, Sobe Ice Arena and Las Vegas Ice Center with eight-week programming rotations. Classes at each rink are 30 minutes long and led by certified instructors.
"We have taken a lot time to develop a clear pathway so that you can't learn to play without having the basics of skating," said Flynn. "That was one of the bigger challenges with the massive popularity of our team, the desire to go straight to hockey without the skills from learning to skate."
The Skating Academy presented by Health Plan of Nevada proves to be a valuable learning experience not just for Nevada's youth, but all ages.
"The goal of the program in general is to educate the parents and the kids on why it's so important," Flynn said. "The long-term benefits of taking a step back and building those baseline developmental skills is huge."
Session 2 of the 2019/20 skating season begins on October 22nd and runs through mid-December. For scheduling, registration and more information click here.