Ice hockey and figure skating are family sports. They take commitment and all-around dedication to succeed. Equipment and ice-time are expensive, but the smile on every child’s face is priceless the first time he/she scores a goal or completes a two-foot spin without falling.
The sense of accomplishment each child feels at that moment can’t be beat. “Iceworks is instrumental in teaching children from age three-on-up how to figure skate or play hockey with a professional staff that is unparalleled,” said Howard Saffan, President of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and owner of the Iceworks facility.
The staff at Iceworks works hard to make each child’s dream come true. “Our coaches have years of experience and are dedicated to making each child the best hockey player or figure skater they are able to be, while ensuring they are having fun!” said Jen Maksel, manager of the Iceworks facility. “We have a large range of programs available, suiting the needs of just about any skater from the beginner on up to the elite athlete.”
Since the facility has opened, many talented athletes have trained at Iceworks.
“In the figure skating world, we’ve produced the likes of Sarah and Emily Hughes,” Saffan said. “And in the hockey world we have produced the likes of Matt Gilroy and Chris Higgins to Mike Komisarek – people who have skated at Iceworks on a regular basis and made it to the NHL.”
The flexible time schedule allows more than 750 kids partake in the ‘learn to skate’ program in each calendar year, while the more advanced children are coached on competitive ice hockey and figure skating. But the programs aren’t only for children, there are adult learn to skate, learn to play hockey, and adult men’s league programs as well.
“Parents like the variety of classes and camps offered at Iceworks,” Maksel said. “We cater to all different levels and ages. They also like that we have different time options available, whether it be for a small child during the week or an older child on a Saturday afternoon.”
Iceworks is known for being the premier skating facility on Long Island. Both of the skating rinks have an ice surface that is comparable to that of professional hockey arenas. The facility is also the home to the largest youth hockey organization on Long Island and the Nassau County High School Hockey League.
“We are the Official Practice Facility of the New York Islanders and when you enroll at Iceworks, you become part of the Islanders family,” Maksel said.
Skate with an Islander at Iceworks Hockey Camp
In anticipation of skating with some of the Islanders pros, children attending one of the Iceworks Hockey Camps have laced up their skates, thrown on a practice jersey and buckled their helmets in record time.
This year, as part of the I.C.E. Tour, Islanders teammates Andrew MacDonald
, Josh Bailey
, Kyle Okposo
and Blake Comeau have spent time mentoring the Iceworks hockey campers. Islanders defenseman Jack Hillen will be present at camp during the week of July 26. After the skate, campers will have the opportunity to get autographs from Hillen as well as ask him questions in a Q&A session.
“It’s a priceless experience. Skating at Iceworks Summer Camp gives each child the ability to skate stride for stride with an NHL player,” Saffan said about the 12 week-long programs. “Each child is able to measure the level that they’re at as well as absorb and learn from someone who is at a very proficient level. They learn how to play hockey.”
This experience is great for the children, but it also means a lot to the parents.
“Parents love the fact that there is player interaction for their children, especially when the player is on the ice with their child,” Maksel said. “Children look to these athletes as positive role models, so to meet them in person just reinforces all the reasons why they look up to them.”
Saffan, a parent of four children, three of whom play hockey, said, “As a parent, I would want to bring my kids to Iceworks because I would want them to see their role models. Many of these NHL players are role models for these kids. To see Kyle Okposo
next to your child and know just how wonderful a human being he is on and off the ice is a tribute to the camp and hopefully each player can reinforce the values of playing hockey to each student.”
If you would like to sign up for an Iceworks hockey camp, please visit iceworksli.com.