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Bloomington Ice Center holds annual Try Hockey for Free Day

Written by on February 25, 2023

NORMAL, Ill. – Hockey can be a fun and exciting game for all ages, but the cost of equipment often leaves many, especially children, without a chance to try and play.

Luckily, Feb. 25 is Try Hockey for Free Day, when ice rinks across the nation provide free equipment for those who want to try hockey.

The event is geared toward those ages 4 to 10, as the organizers want to introduce hockey to kids at an early age. Hockey requires many prior skills, such as ice skating, so giving the opportunity to try out hockey without a time or dollar commitment attracts a lot of potential young players.

Try Hockey for Free Day is sponsored by USA Hockey, the national governing board of all youth hockey in the United States. The event has picked up a lot more steam over the past ten years as the sport continues to grow, and ice rinks around the country want to gain hockey fans for life.

Unfortunately, this year’s event has already been completely booked in Bloomington. However, as it is clear many more still want to try it out, the Bloomington Ice Center plans to hold similar events in the near future.

Michael Hurnbrott, the manager of the Bloomington Ice Center, spoke on the event and future events to promote hockey.

“We will look to do another try hockey for free event in March,” Hurnbrott said. “It’s gotta be a time that makes sense for that family or group. But we do have other programs, they don’t have to wait for this Try Hockey for Free to come out and get involved in the program.”

Quick assist pads are also provided for those who want to try playing goalie. However, event organizers say it is important to build the athlete first, and the event will be centered around more skater skills. After learning the game, it may inspire some kids for the rest of their lives.

“I learned to skate when I was very young, I was so young I don’t even really remember all of it,” said Hurnbrott. “But I do remember that feeling of being a young child going ‘this is the greatest thing in the world, I can’t wait to get back to the rink’. That’s always on my mind…this could be a day that changes their whole lives.”

The event will be hosted in the Bloomington Ice Center from 4-5 p.m.