As summer activities on the Homer Spit wind down, winter activities are heating up at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena. Ice is being laid down and the rink is scheduled to open the end of September. Coaches and instructors are preparing for another year, offering programs for every age and skill set.
This season, a new “Hockey for the Fun of It” will be offered for ages 8-12. The program is geared towards kids who want to play hockey simply for the fun of it, with no practice and no travel, just games on Saturday afternoons. Limited gear can be acquired through the rink.
Figure skating and hockey skating lessons are being offered for the second year with a “we SKATE” program available for ages 5 to adult, and rental skates are available. In addition, regular public skate times make it possible to enjoy skating on a consistently frozen surface protected from the elements.
Last year, local youth hockey boasted two state champions. The Pee Wees and the Squirts each won their respective state tournaments. We have a full complement of hockey programs for kids this year: Mites, ages 7-9; Squirts, ages 9-10; Pee Wees, ages 11-12; and Bantams, ages 13-14.
The Hockey 101 adult program was a hit last year and is back by popular demand for 2014-2015. That program is for beginner adult hockey players with instructors teaching basic hockey skills and skating with an emphasis on providing a fun and safe environment for learning hockey.
In addition, the adult women’s group, lovingly known as the “Divas” meet three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Divas, who are anything but, have designed a program focusing on those who have a love for hockey, whether new to the sport or long-time players.
Finally, the men’s league is always looking for more players. They gather two nights a week for scrimmages, previous hockey and skating ability is recommended.
In spite of all that is planned for the upcoming season, there is uncertainty looming in the future. The Homer Hockey Association-Kevin Bell Arena has been paying interest only on a building loan since opening in 2005. In September 2015, HHA will begin paying the principal, which will double the monthly payments. HHA is looking for fiscal partners — state, federal and private — to fill that gap.
HHA is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate on-ice recreation of all kinds, for all ages, on the Lower Kenai Peninsula. Volunteers logged an astounding 14,000 hours of work last season and hosted six adult and youth tournaments, making a significant contribution to the Homer’s fall and winter economy.
Positive support over the years has allowed HHA to serve our community. Help spread the word about how important the Kevin Bell Arena is to the Homer community. Let your city, borough, state and federal representatives know. Homer is conducting a needs assessment for parks and recreation that involves public surveys. This is an opportunity to provide feedback on the awesome ice activities we have at the Kevin Bell Arena. This will let the city know how important this form of recreation is to our community and the positive physical and mental affects the rink has on citizens of Homer.
Jan Rumble is the secretary of the Homer Hockey Association-Kevin Bell Arena.
For more information about the Homer Hockey Association’s program, Kevin Bell Arena rink hours and a link to the HHA crowd-funding site, visit kevinbellarena.org