While attending my first North American Rink Conference & Expo this week in Chicago, I couldn't help but get the itch to play hockey again, to convince my nine-year-old son to take up the sport (or even a stepping-stone version that I've learned about called ringette), to encourage my daughter, who just turned eight, to apply her years of formal dance training to a future in figure skating. Perhaps one day we'll all give environmentally friendly approach to ice-making. The latest skate models are featured, of course, as is a floor mat that facilitates rental sizing. In each booth are professionals who have found their own perfect fit, their lives devoted to providing the very best facilities and programming to novice youths and Olympic champions alike. I got caught up with a former teammate who now coaches girls' hockey players at the prominent Milwaukee prep school I used to cover as a newspaper sports editor. He told me the on-campus arena, which I last toured 20 years ago, has been expanded to include all new home and visitor locker rooms. I recall the old spaces as being quite posh as is, with individual player cubbies befitting college or pro teams. I recognized the manager of the more modest, but beautiful rink in my hometown and introduced myself. I think I'll reintroduce myself and the kids at the next available open skate. Just give me a bench to sit on. Having been to NARCE, I can't wait to lace 'em up.
Can't Wait to Lace 'Em Up
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