By Connor Beach
The Town of Huntington and the New York Rangers are teaming up to establish two instructional hockey programs at the Dix Hills Ice Rink.
Rangers staff and former players will teach a pair of programs later this year and early next year that are designed for children ages 5-9.
The town board voted Aug. 15 to waive the Dix Hills Ice Rink’s regular ice time fees for the Rangers, who will provide free hockey equipment for the participants in the programs.
The Dix Hills rink, where the programs will be held, was previously used through an agreement with the New York Islanders, but that deal has expired, according to town spokesman A.J. Carter.
Instead, the Rangers will host Try Hockey for Free Day on Oct. 28, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The program, designed for beginner skaters, is free for participants.
The Rangers will also be running the Learn to Play Hockey program, a 12-week series of one-hour training sessions, running from Jan. 6, 2018-March 24, 2018, designed to develop basic hockey skills in children. Each participant in the program will receive a full set of equipment and skates.
The Learn to Play Hockey program costs $175 per participant. The town will receive $125 of each child’s registration fee; the program could generate roughly $8,125 in revenue for the town if all 65 available spots are filled. This revenue will be used to offset the estimated $4,500 of ice time that has been set-aside at the Dix Hills rink.
The programs are set up through the Junior Rangers Rink Partners initiative, which works with local towns and municipalities to host educational hockey activities at rinks across the tri-state area.
The goal of the Junior Rangers programs is to grow the game of hockey by providing affordable programs that make hockey accessible to children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to try the sport.