Perception is reality, especially when mom and dad are watching their son or daughter playing cross-ice hockey.
While most acknowledge the benefits of fitting the ice surface to the size of their young player, some still get turned off by the use of fire hoses, pylons or foam rubber dividers to separate the rink into thirds.
USA Hockey is looking to change that perception by providing its Affiliates with an affordable solution that divides the ice while keeping the look and feel of a real rink.
The American Development Model has teamed up with Rink Systems, a member vendor of Serving The American Rink, to provide USA Hockey Affiliates with an opportunity to purchase cross-ice hard dividers for their local rinks at a discounted price. The hard dividers are easy to install and have the look and feel of real boards with curved corners and doors.
“It really gives the look and feel of an ice rink, even though it’s a smaller version. Parents believe their kids are playing on a regular ice surface,” said Joe Baudo, president of New York State Amateur Hockey Association, who has seen the boards used at the Northtown Center in Amherst, N.Y.
While the program was only recently unveiled to Affiliates at the Annual Congress in June, a number have already pledged to earmark a portion of their latest USA Hockey block grant to help local associations and rinks to defray the cost of these hard dividers. The $7,000 reduced price tag includes shipping.
Rinks are encouraged to purchase two sets of dividers to create a true cross-ice experience.
Affiliates were given an Aug. 1 deadline to place their orders to ensure that dividers arrive at rinks in time of the start of the youth hockey season.