Henderson High School freshman, Dylan Teeter, and junior, Michael McCarthy were the organizers for this year’s Learn-To-Skate which brought 72 Chester 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to Ice Line in West Chester on Sunday, March 16th. The children were paired with 74 ice hockey skaters from 6 different local high school teams. Participating teams included: Henderson High School, West Chester East High School, Rustin High School, Bishop Shanahan High School (both men’s and women’s teams), Conestoga High School and Downingtown West High School (men’s and women’s teams).
When the children disembarked from the buses right outside the hockey rink, they were randomly paired up with a high school student. You might think this was really awkward, and to some it was, but most gave each other a hug or high five and then moved inside, excited for the day. The two quickly got skates for the Chester child and once everyone was laced up, the pairs took to the ice.
Most of the Chester children, when asked, told the hockey players that they had never been on ice skates before. Some of them felt most comfortable using the metal walkers to lean on, but most just grabbed the hand of their high school partner and leaned on them for support. In no time at all, the kids were becoming friends.
Despite the lack of experience, almost every child was skating on their own at the end of the day. The high school hockey players did a phenomenal job of paying close attention to the child that they were with, and teaching them how to hold their ankles and find their balance. Their instruction was gentle and loving and very helpful. Lots of kids learned how to skate that day.
Some of the high school kids brought extra jerseys to give away to the Chester kids. Some were from their club teams and some were old high school jerseys. The Chester kids loved it and were very appreciative!
Another bonus was a delicious dinner provided by The Grille at Ice Line. The crowd enjoyed ziti and pizza and a delicious Caesar salad, with lemonade or iced tea, and there was plenty of cake for everyone at the end of the event.
The Foundation is so thankful for the Chester adults who volunteered to chaperone the trip and the many, many West Chester adult volunteers who came out to support the Foundation that day, and most especially to all the hockey players from the community who volunteered their time and talents at Learn-To-Skate!
The Grille at Ice Line
Tuttle Marketing Services
Krapf Bus Company
Henderson Ice Hockey
Rustin Ice Hockey
West Chester East Ice Hockey
Bishop Shanahan Ice Hockey
Conestoga Ice Hockey
Downingtown West Ice Hockey