With 85 degree weather outside you are probably thinking more along the lines of ice in your Margarita than under your skates. However if your child wants to play hockey next year then you are going to want to consider pulling out those skates because the tryouts are coming up in early June for The Northport Huntington Ice Hockey Club (NHIHC). The NHIHC has got the perfect game for those kids who are looking for more out of ice hockey then just a recreational league, but do not have the time, money or desire to join a travel league.
NHIHC is non-profit and the fees depend on how many kids join the team. Last year’s varsity fee was $1,300 for a season which consisted of ice time for practice and 20 games. The freshman team ran $1500 with a longer season of 27 games. The hockey season goes from September through March. Compare this with upward of $4,000 for a decent travel team if you can find one and it’s a cool deal.
The high school teams are made up of students from Elwood, Northport, E. Northport, Harborfields, Huntington and parts of South Huntington. The practice takes place at the Dix Hills Ice Rink and the games are held in Hauppauge.
Within the high school club they have also initiated a developmental program to try and give an opportunity to the young kids who really love ice hockey to pump up the level a little and compete. The kids love it and usually are too tired to come home and fight with their siblings after a good competitive ice hockey game hence parents are giving it a thumbs up as well.
The VT spoke with president, coach and ice hockey lover Frank Coyle to get a perspective on what a parent would expect their child to learn from the sport. Frank has played hockey since high school and he feels that learning the skills are important but much like other team sports the value is in the real life lessons that kids take away. These are things such as, discipline, commitment, learning how to win and the most important life lesson, that everybody has an important role. What’s unique to NHIHC is that the teams are made up of children from multiple school districts, which teaches them sportsmanship when their school teams begin playing against each other. They could be playing football or soccer against a hockey teammate, which makes for tolerance and understanding of peers and differences.
We asked Frank if it’s hard play with the high school teams if you are a teenager who has never skated before. “Yes and no“, he said. It’s certainly easier if you are comfortable with skating. Nonetheless they had a senior boy go out for the team this year that had never skated before. The coaches decided to give him a shot as an alternate with the understanding that he may never see ice time. This boy was determined and practiced hard. The two teammates above him were out on injuries in the very beginning of the season so this newbie played the entire season and scored goals and became an equal team player. Frank said that the coaches were probably even more excited about this than the boy because they understood that he will hold on to this accomplishment and carry it with him forever.
Thanks to Frank Coyle for the great photos!