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Give it a go - Ice Skating

by Alex Heron

Ever since I went to see the Nottingham Panthers’ first game at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham, I fell in love with ice hockey. The skill, speed and (albeit not a family-friendly aspect of the game) the fighting – I was locked in.
I remember that game, as the second period was shortened because the goalies started to scrap as well. The refs had had enough! 

The National Ice Centre is very accessible to us so, when my eldest was old enough, we were there in the hope that he’d be a natural and take the world by storm.

Having only ice skated once, on one skate, on a frozen lake in Norway when I was 3, I was confident that I could handle it! 

So off we went, my little man and me. This what I learned:

  1. It’s cold – yes, this is obvious, but gloves are essential for the little one.
  2. The boots are a challenge – it requires the little one to stomp their feet to gain enough force to get them on correctly. Pushing them on will work, but it will take time as kids get excited and want to go – regardless of whether they have the right kit on.
  3. If you are on your own and going on the ice with them, balance is critical – If you have your skates on and you are guiding your wobbly kid, you may wobble as well. Be prepared to take a fall with or for them!
  4. If your child is short (my little man is short for his age), you’ll likely get a sore back – guiding him on the skates will mean you are bending over a lot.
  5. Don’t plan for a long time on the ice – I always have the ambition that the preparation time will be shorter than the time spent doing the activity. However, that was not the case. We were only on the ice for 25 min before he got tired. It might feel a bit disappointing that the session is cut short, but as they grow, you’ll be able to spend longer doing these incredible things.  

As a morning out, skating is a brilliant thing to do. I find that doing something that involves getting cold and wet means that the child is a lot calmer and more relaxed for the rest of the day.

Sure there’s the usual fussing about, like making sure you have snacks and drinks, changing footwear, getting everything in the locker, keeping the little one calm in the prep stage and moving him forward on the ice. But it’s worth it.

It’s helpful if you have another adult or the other parent present who isn’t skating to help with pre and post-activity stuff. But for many of us Dads, we go out and do this stuff alone because we rock!

With regards to the Nottingham Ice Rink, it's brilliant. Clear signage, lots of sessions available. And if it's something you’d to continue with, such as learning the basics, figure skating, or when competent moving into ice hockey.

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