Believe it or not, there’s plenty of hockey to be had in the metro, ranging from the Oklahoma City Blazers all the way to kids’ leagues.
“We have a wide variety of hockey available, but no one seems to know about it, so we are trying to get the word out,” said Mike McEwen, program director for Kids First. “It’s an obscure sport in this city.”
McEwen “former coach of the Blazers and three-time Stanley Cup champion ” is hoping the Kids First program can lure fans in at an early age.
“It’s the fastest game in the world, and players have to read and react,” McEwen said. “It’s a real fun game to play.”
According to Darryl Rowley, the general manager of the Arctic Edge Ice Arena at 14613 N. Kelly, 5- and 6-year-olds are about the right age to pick up a stick.
“Everybody played baseball, everybody played football while growing up in Oklahoma, but they never played hockey, so, as parents, they’re not sure,” Rowley said.
Good opportunities also exist for the older kids and adults, with 24 teams currently competing in amateur leagues at Arctic Edge and its sister facility, Blazers Ice Centre, at 8000 S. I-35.
“It ranges from guys who just started a year or two ago, all the way up to guys who used to play for the Blazers,” Rowley said. “We have a lot of guys whose kid starts playing hockey, and they get around the rink and they say, ‘You know what? I’m here all the time and it’s addictive.'”