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Monday, January 30, 2012

Successful Clinics Help Launch 2 New Programs

Raise your hand if you got in a hockey sled at the Oxnard or Bakersfield clinics the last weekend of January?  More than 50 people are raising their hands!

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Kellie Hays, along with countless other people from USA Hockey and both cities, the clinics were very successful.

Kellie brought Ahmad Karimzada and Tom Lopeman from the Phoenix Coyotes Sled Team to help conduct the clinic.  Both Ahmad and Tom are double amputees, and Ahmad was previously on the US National Sled Hockey Team.  Kay Robertson, longtime sled hockey booster at all levels, including the US National Team also helped out at both clinics.

The weekend started in Oxnard at Channel Islands Ice Center (CIIC) on Saturday, January 28.  A crew of volunteers helped 31 people try out sled hockey.  Mel and Rhonda Waidmann spearheaded the sled hockey clinic.  This was the first clinic for CIIC and they plan to form a sled hockey team from the momentum generated from the clinic.  Their team will be part of the Riptide Hockey program.  The participants ranged in ages, but the majority of the participants at this clinic were children.  One of the volunteers was a physical therapist who brought straps for participants' legs, and those worked better than the usual tape.  In addition to the clinic, the rink provided grilled hamburgers and hot dogs to all the participants.  There was a raffle for a $50 and a $10 gift certificate as a fundraiser to start the team as well.  Contact for more information about the Oxnard program.

After the clinic was over, the sleds, sticks, clinicians, and gear were trucked the 120 miles over to Bakersfield.  The clinicians and volunteers enjoyed an ECHL hockey game (the Bakersfield Condors vs. The Ontario Reign) and tried to relax before the next clinic the next day.

On Sunday, January 29, the clinic was at Bakersfield Ice Sports Center, a beautiful facility behind Rabobank Arena.  More than 22 people got in a sled there, and the general consensus from the athletes seemed to be positive.  Many were figuring out how they could buy sleds and form a team.  At this clinic, although participants were young and old, the majority of the participants were adults. The mascot of Bakersfield's ECHL team, Colonel Claw'd also showed up for the event.  The rink provided a pizza lunch for all the hungry participants.  For more information on this budding program, contact

Todd and Christie Jenkins from the Junior Reign Sled Hockey Team in Riverside brought helmets, elbow pads, and gloves along to both clinics so the participants could be safe.

It was a great weekend for sled hockey in Southern California! Stay in touch for the most recent developments on those two fledgling programs.  With turnouts like those, they will be flourishing programs in no time!

In other News:

The Junior Reign Sled Team will hold it's next practices on February 6 and 20 at 7:00 PM. For more information, e-mail Todd at

Also, flyers were finally  made for the Junior Reign Sled Team, and for an electronic (.PDF) version of the flyer, send a request to Todd at the e-mail address above.  The flyers come two to a page and are in color, although they will print out black and white as well.  You can print them or attach them to e-mails to friends you know who might be interested.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Try Sled Hockey for Free!

Remember these two dates.  In fact, stop what you are doing right now and circle them in red on your calendar. Are you ready?  Do you have your red pen and calendar handy?  Here they are:

January 28
January 29

So, what's so big about those two dates?

January 28 is the free sled hockey clinic at Channel Islands Ice Center in Oxnard.  Check in starts at 12:30, and ice time is from 1:15-3:15.  This is the very first clinic of Ventura County Sled Hockey.  The Junior Riptide Sled Team will be practicing there.  For more information, contact  For directions, the address and map is on the right of this page.

January 29 is the free sled hockey clinic at Bakersfield Ice Sports Center.  For more information, contact  For directions, the address and map is on the right of this page.

In both cases, this is a good opportunity for you to try out sled hockey if you never have.  It's also a good time for you to work with some National Team members who will be out at the clinics.  USA Hockey is sending out 24 loaner sleds for both events, and we'll have helmets and pads for you to borrow.

For the most part, people who come out to clinics are beginners who have either never tried sled hockey before, or have tried it only once or twice.  If you are scared because you are a beginner and you don't want to make a fool of yourself, there is no need to worry.  You will be among plenty of other beginners, and you won't be the person who is the worst on the sled.

If you can't make it, please pass the info along to people you know who live within a reasonable driving distance to the clinics.  If you can make it, bring a friend.

Also, if you can volunteer or know people who might volunteer, both clinics could use some on-ice volunteers to help push some of the hockey players who are having difficulty getting the hang of propelling themselves on the ice.  In addition, off-ice volunteers are greatly appreciated as well.  People will be needed to man the sign-in table and help athletes get their equipment on, get in the sleds, and get out on the ice.

In Other News

The Junior Reign Sled Team had its first practice on January 9, and the next practices will be January 23 and February 6 at Icetown in Riverside.  For more information, contact