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NARCE Notebook: Columbus Offers Ideal Setting

06/16/2014, 12:30pm MDT
By Paul Batterson - Special to USAHockey.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The North American Rink Conference and Exposition moved to Columbus this year after being held in Detroit in each of the past three years. This year’s event, which was held May 19-22, was the first of three in a row that will be held in the Ohio capital.

Nationwide Arena, where the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets play, is with walking distance of the Columbus Convention Center, where the conference was held. The proximity to the rink and a strong presence at the NARCE in the past made central Ohio a strong choice for the convention.

“We rotate the site selection around in the Midwest,” said Cory Portner, director of membership for the USA Hockey. “Columbus became a potential destination when we were looking at sites because we’ve gotten a lot of support from rink operators and employees from Ohio coming to the conference. We thought it was probably time to come into the Ohio area.”

Lucky Timing

The conference avoided a logistical headache when the Columbus Blue Jackets were eliminated by Pittsburgh in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Had Columbus beaten the Penguins and made a long run into the playoffs, the conference would have struggled to find ice rinks to conduct its clinics.

“We’d love to see them go deep into the playoffs, but we had ice rented over at their facility,” Portner said. “If they would’ve gone deep in the playoffs, we would’ve had to look for other rinks.”

Green on Ice

One of the classes added to the conference this year was on energy management. The seminar took a look into alternative solutions such as solar power and wind power to provide the energy needed to run a rink.

“Right now we’re big consumers of electricity and natural gas,” Portner said. “We’re trying to cool the surface of the ice while heating the rest of the rink to keep it comfortable. We’re in constant conflict, burning dollar bills while trying to manage both ends.

“So we’re constantly exploring new ways of building our rinks to make them more energy efficient by using natural resources and technologies.”

Notes

According to Portner, the NARCE event pulled in participants from nearly every state that has an ice rink facility as well as participants from Japan, Canada, Europe and Australia. … The expo had companies offering four different ice resurfacers, including the traditional Zamboni as well as the Olympia, Sport Ice and the Italian-manufactured Engo.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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March 27, 2017 | When USA Hockey implemented its American Development Model in 2009, one element of the nationwide age-appropriate training blueprint sparked more debate than any other: cross-ice hockey for 8U players. In the years since, an abundance of evidence, both data-driven and anecdotal, has proven the developmental advantages of cross-ice hockey.

This week, Hockey Canada announced that it too will introduce its players to the game through cross-ice play beginning in 2017-18.

“Re-sizing the playing surface to cross-ice or half-ice means more puck touches, which result in more chances to practice puck control and shooting, as well as overall more movement and motor skill-development – twisting, turning, balance, coordination, agility,” said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development for Hockey Canada, in a release today. “Their field-of-play matches their size, and these players hone in on their skill-development in a way that larger ice surfaces just aren’t conducive to.”

The Grassroots Show on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 weighed in on the decision. Click the audio link below to hear how Canada is embracing cross-ice hockey for the coming season and beyond.

Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada, appeared on the Grassroots Show to discuss the nationwide shift to cross-ice hockey, beginning this fall for 5- and 6-year-olds and expanding to all of Canada's Novice (8U) level in 2018-19.

“When you see 10 or 12 or 14 or 16 kids out on the ice in between periods and they’re playing 200-by-85 and 3 or 4 kids touch the puck in that whole six minutes, yet there’s people in the stands clapping and thinking it’s wonderful, I just can’t help but think about the 95 percent of the children that didn’t even touch the puck or get from one end of the rink to the other and I ask myself what are we doing when the opportunity is certainly there to have 30 kids on the ice playing cross-ice and everyone is having a much better opportunity to touch the puck, skate a shorter distance and really play. It just boggles my mind,” said Renney.

“We completely embrace, at the Initiation level and the Novice level, cross-ice hockey and we have mandated that in the Initiation program and we will mandate it across the country in Novice hockey.

“This is about the pure enjoyment of the game, and your first connection with it has to be something that’s pure fun, on a surface of play that is conducive to much more participation and joy.”

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