The original item was published from February 26, 2021 3:40 PM to April 30, 2021 10:00 AM
By Pete Kristian
Can we watch some hockey highlights? Can I go to the ice rink and skate? These are two questions I had never heard from my son Miles until about a month ago. That’s when he began to skate with the Truckee Youth Ice Hockey Program.
The Truckee Ice Rink was built by Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District staff in 2001. Youth hockey programs began in 2002 and have only grown since. Hans Bauman has coached the program since its inception. “I enjoy seeing the kids return each season and I’m proud of how many kids this program has inspired to love hockey,” says Bauman.
The Truckee rink is not full-sized. The program focuses on improving skating and hockey fundamentals. Kids that have moved on to larger rink programs outside the area find that the skills they learn in Truckee translate easily to bigger rinks.
Erica Smakulski is a coach with the program. She likes that TDRPD makes the sport of hockey accessible to the whole community. Players are required to bring a mouthpiece, gloves, shin pads, elbow pads and your own stick. The rink sometimes has equipment for loan, and when we joined the program parents were quick to offer used equipment and advice. The feeling of community that these parents and players foster make the program feel special.
Eric Svahn loves the hockey program because he,” likes to skate.” Miles began the program with no skating and few hockey skills. One month into the program his skating has improved dramatically and so has his hockey. Visiting the Truckee Ice Rink to practice during the week was a big help and having a healthy outdoor activity during a pandemic is priceless. His first assist in practice the other day was the highlight of his week and when you watch practice underneath that helmet and face shield you can see a big smile.