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Adult Clinic Woes

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Old
04-30-2013, 11:44 PM
  #1
JoeyB
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Adult Clinic Woes

Question for you gents who've been around longer than I:

I joined an adult skills clinic at a rink that's not too far from my house. On the flyer, it was advertised as being geared towards newer players gearing up to join the C2 (beginners) league at the rink. Six weeks of drills and six weeks of "controlled scrimmage." (more on that in a moment)

So I show up first day for clinic, and I notice two things: 1) There's a ******** of people there, and 2) Half of them seem to be quite good players and a good portion of those people are all wearing the same jersey. And they seem to know each other. I brush it off, but at the end of each class we do an open scrimmage, lights vs. darks, and for whatever reason, the dark team has almost all the good players (including the sizable portion who are on the same team mentioned earlier) and the white team has all the beginners. I brush this off at first, too.

But each week it seems to be getting worse. Beginners stopped showing up, or started leaving when the scrimmage starts. The good players started talking ****. I started overhearing bits and pieces, like how one of the guys teaches the kids class. But hey, I say to myself. They have just as much right to be here as I do, don't they?

So fast forward to tonight, the first night of "controlled scrimmage." I wasn't sure what this was going to be, but I figured the coach and the assistant coach who had been teaching the classes would sort of guide things and maybe give pointers and if I was really lucky divide us up into lines and call line changes and ****, maybe even a penalty or two.

But I was wrong. It was just open hockey billed as "controlled scrimmage," but with goalies. The head coach didn't even show up. The assistant coach did: and he put on a black jersey and played for the team filled with good players. The white team scored zero goals in two hours. The puck left our zone maybe 10 times? White jersey players just up and quit, by the end our team had 8 guys while the dark jersey team had twice as many. We were tired and getting the **** kicked out of us.

It sounds like I'm whining, and maybe I am. I tell myself the good players have just as much right to be there as I do, but when the ******* flyer bills the class as being geared towards beginners I have to wonder exactly what I'm getting out of it by having the **** kicked out of my team for two hours. I'm getting conditioning, sure, but am I learning the game of hockey? Maybe. Am I having fun or getting motivated? Not at all.

I used to look forward to playing but now I don't even want to go. There's five weeks left and if I wasn't already paid up you can bet dollars to donuts I wouldn't go. It seems like these guys just show up to beat up on beginners and get their jollies off. They score on guys who can barely skate then go around high fiving each other. This isn't open hockey; we paid for a learning experience and it sure as **** doesn't seem like we're getting one.

Anyway. End rant. Sorry it's long. Thoughts?

TLDR: Signed up for class billed as being for beginners. Get trounced by experienced players every week. Get sad face.

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05-01-2013, 12:32 AM
  #2
nystromshairstylist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyB View Post
Question for you gents who've been around longer than I:

I joined an adult skills clinic at a rink that's not too far from my house. On the flyer, it was advertised as being geared towards newer players gearing up to join the C2 (beginners) league at the rink. Six weeks of drills and six weeks of "controlled scrimmage." (more on that in a moment)

So I show up first day for clinic, and I notice two things: 1) There's a ******** of people there, and 2) Half of them seem to be quite good players and a good portion of those people are all wearing the same jersey. And they seem to know each other. I brush it off, but at the end of each class we do an open scrimmage, lights vs. darks, and for whatever reason, the dark team has almost all the good players (including the sizable portion who are on the same team mentioned earlier) and the white team has all the beginners. I brush this off at first, too.

But each week it seems to be getting worse. Beginners stopped showing up, or started leaving when the scrimmage starts. The good players started talking ****. I started overhearing bits and pieces, like how one of the guys teaches the kids class. But hey, I say to myself. They have just as much right to be here as I do, don't they?

So fast forward to tonight, the first night of "controlled scrimmage." I wasn't sure what this was going to be, but I figured the coach and the assistant coach who had been teaching the classes would sort of guide things and maybe give pointers and if I was really lucky divide us up into lines and call line changes and ****, maybe even a penalty or two.

But I was wrong. It was just open hockey billed as "controlled scrimmage," but with goalies. The head coach didn't even show up. The assistant coach did: and he put on a black jersey and played for the team filled with good players. The white team scored zero goals in two hours. The puck left our zone maybe 10 times? White jersey players just up and quit, by the end our team had 8 guys while the dark jersey team had twice as many. We were tired and getting the **** kicked out of us.

It sounds like I'm whining, and maybe I am. I tell myself the good players have just as much right to be there as I do, but when the ******* flyer bills the class as being geared towards beginners I have to wonder exactly what I'm getting out of it by having the **** kicked out of my team for two hours. I'm getting conditioning, sure, but am I learning the game of hockey? Maybe. Am I having fun or getting motivated? Not at all.

I used to look forward to playing but now I don't even want to go. There's five weeks left and if I wasn't already paid up you can bet dollars to donuts I wouldn't go. It seems like these guys just show up to beat up on beginners and get their jollies off. They score on guys who can barely skate then go around high fiving each other. This isn't open hockey; we paid for a learning experience and it sure as **** doesn't seem like we're getting one.

Anyway. End rant. Sorry it's long. Thoughts?

TLDR: Signed up for class billed as being for beginners. Get trounced by experienced players every week. Get sad face.
#1-you want to play better players, as that will help you improve.

#2-with that said, please tell the forum where you are taking the clinic so I can show up with some friends in white and pound the trash talkers into next week

I think you should talk to the coaches and tell them if they want to continue to have a program, they need to balance things out better. If the coaches don't respond well, then speak to the rink manager above them. If that doesn't work, then find a new rink with a similar clinic, and inform the other beginners in your group that there's another option. Also mention it to the rink manager that you are leaving, and taking the bulk of the beginners with you, and will be posting online how poorly run the clinic is at their rink.

With hockey still being a niche sport with few beginners relative to other sports, paying customers/newbies who are the future of the rink leagues/open hockeys are not to be taken for granted/advantage of. They are the future lifeblood of the rink, and any rinks that handle the adult beginner clinics badly will financially suffer for it at some point.

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Old
05-01-2013, 12:45 AM
  #3
mikitas donut
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While yes, you get better by playing against better players, that sounds pretty crap. I took a class with true beginners and it was a lot of fun. There were a few good players to help out and they were evenly distributed to move things along. If I started out in the program you're in, I probably would have quit too.

Definitely address this to the staff. I don't see the point of a team of awesome players beating up on people that are just learning to play.

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05-01-2013, 05:14 AM
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The "hairstylist" basically said everything I would have said with a few additions:

1. For the amount of ice time you have is it less or more expensive than if a group of you bought it separately.

e.g. Is the rink making more money in 2 hours or less than if you rented the ice for 2 hours as a group of friends?

If they are making more, then they have a financial incentive to keep players interested.

2. Does "the good team" actually feel good and make fun about beating up on new guys...? That's ********. If it were me, their attitude would be far more frustrating than losing all the time.

3. Our "clinic" was so ****** we formed our own scrimmage teams and we aren't going back to the rink. Not everyone is so lucky to have multiple rinks and/or enough contacts to do so, but if you don't like it you can try organizing your own. You may even have a friend who played in high school. If you bribe them with free ice time and beer they might "coach" for free. It sounds like they would do better than the clowns at your clinic.

4. Those guys sound incredibly pathetic. REALLY...just pick on the new guys...for what?

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05-01-2013, 06:50 AM
  #5
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Playing against better players does help with your development, but so does playing with better players. It amazes me that a bunch of experienced players would get any sort of enjoyment out of running show on a bunch of beginners.

I think you've got a legitimate gripe here because it's not fun or helpful to teach you some basic skills and then throw you into a "controlled scrimmige" with a bunch of players that are above your level and expect you to immediately assimilate with the skills that you just learned moments ago.

Is there at least a "chalk talk" session after the scrimmage to talk about your play, or is it basically just "thanks for the money; hope you had fun being beaten like a rented mule!?" Also, are these guys actually playing in the beginners league? There has always got to be one group of ********** that tries to play down because they can't hang with any of the teams in the division they should be in.

Regardless, there's got to be another skills clinic you can join. Don't let these guys keep you from trying to get better. If you decide to stick it out, try and take from the experience what you can. When you are on a losing team or in an impossible situation like this it really helps you grow sometimes; when there is no pressure you can allow yourself to try new things or be a little more aggressive. This can help build confidence.

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05-01-2013, 08:01 AM
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Just show up in a dark jersey. Problem solved.

Seriously though, I used to play pickup roller hockey a few weeks out of the month at a local rink and unless you were "one of the guys" you were ignored, got little to no playing time and never had the puck passed to you.

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05-01-2013, 08:03 AM
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I think your only hope is to talk to whomever runs the clinic (the people who get the money, not the coach) and explain what's going on.

With the environment you've described, I can't see any reason for the newer/beginner players to stick around. Getting trounced like that is no fun, and it's very difficult to improve your hockey skills if the other team has the puck 99% of the time and is skating circles around your team. On top of that, the better players are just being jerks.

In my opinion, the coaches have failed miserably with running that "clinic".


Last edited by 17of26: 05-01-2013 at 08:09 AM.
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05-01-2013, 08:54 AM
  #8
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yeah multiple fails on the clinic oragnizer's part.

I will say that while playing against better players will make you better, it won't make you better if all your team are beginners and they're schooling you. It will just make you angry, frustrated, will hurt your confidence and you really won't be learning much. Far better to play on a balanced team against another balanced team as others have said.

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05-01-2013, 09:01 AM
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Had the opposite happen to me. Signed up for a 10-week clinic to work on intermediate skills and half the class was beginners with a few that couldn't skate.

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05-01-2013, 09:06 AM
  #10
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That sucks. I feel bad, since I recommended it so highly when you posted a while back. I was thinking about signing up for the next 12-week cycle that starts in June, but now I have second thoughts...

Definitely not my experience when I did the clinic there a couple years ago (different hockey director at that time though). I've been doing the Thursday evening clinic at another rink in that general area. It's been OK... the main drawbacks being low turnout and the fact that it's taught by a rotating cast of high-school kids (which is sometimes fine and sometimes ends up being an expensive stick and puck session, depending who you get), but there about 6-8 regulars, all of us at close to the same (novice) skill level, and a fun laid-back group. It also helps for me that it's 5-10 minutes from my house.

However, the schedule for that clinic in the next month or two is very sporadic - they're apparently only running it tomorrow, the last thursday of this month, and the last thursday of June. Weird.

When I did the clinic you're referring to, there was a range of experience, from guys who could barely skate to competent players, but not the imbalance or the attitude you describe. I found the instructors to be really good as well, especially Doug (don't know if he's still involved). I would recommend speaking to the hockey director about the situation. And mention that word of mouth is turning potential new participants off of coming out!

Meanwhile, if you're free tomorrow, the "other" clinic runs 7:50-8:50. Come check it out, we could use more guys. I've been discreet about naming the rinks, but if you're not sure where I'm talking about and want to know, PM me.

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05-01-2013, 09:21 AM
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I do a clinic pretty regularly just for the extra ice time. Started as a complete N00b, now I am a mid pack clinic guy. There are some guys out there that could field a league of teams with the number of clinic free jerseys they have. However, I never found anyone talking trash. In fact, most everyone recognizes that they all started out crappy too and everyone has to learn. I got a lot of good advice from those guys. The guy that runs our clinic knows a lot of the guys, since so many just keep recycling, that he does a pretty good job of balancing. I would let the director know, and if he does nothing to fix it, I would walk away and let people know why.

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05-01-2013, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by leftwinger37 View Post
Is there at least a "chalk talk" session after the scrimmage to talk about your play, or is it basically just "thanks for the money; hope you had fun being beaten like a rented mule!?" Also, are these guys actually playing in the beginners league? There has always got to be one group of ********** that tries to play down because they can't hang with any of the teams in the division they should be in.
There is not. In fact when the scrimmage started, I didn't see either of the two coaches, and didn't realize one was there till I was facing him on the ice. The buzzer rang at the end and we just left. There wasn't an introduction or any sort of debrief. It's literally just open hockey with a lot of people and two goalies. To answer your second question, I'm not entirely sure but from what I've overheard from guys just talking amongst themselves most of the "dark team" are C league, with a couple of B league, although I think some of them also play C2 as well as C.

Quote:
Regardless, there's got to be another skills clinic you can join. Don't let these guys keep you from trying to get better. If you decide to stick it out, try and take from the experience what you can. When you are on a losing team or in an impossible situation like this it really helps you grow sometimes; when there is no pressure you can allow yourself to try new things or be a little more aggressive. This can help build confidence.
There is, there's another which is actually closer to my house that's smaller in terms of number of players and meets on Sunday. It's way more drills than gameplay but the coach keeps things moving (which was actually a bit of an issue at the other clinic, since there were so many people you'd spend a lot of time standing around waiting your turn for drills) and it seems a little more "beginner friendly."


Last edited by JoeyB: 05-01-2013 at 09:55 AM.
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05-01-2013, 09:53 AM
  #13
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Originally Posted by McDugan View Post
That sucks. I feel bad, since I recommended it so highly when you posted a while back. I was thinking about signing up for the next 12-week cycle that starts in June, but now I have second thoughts...

Definitely not my experience when I did the clinic there a couple years ago (different hockey director at that time though). I've been doing the Thursday evening clinic at another rink in that general area. It's been OK... the main drawbacks being low turnout and the fact that it's taught by a rotating cast of high-school kids (which is sometimes fine and sometimes ends up being an expensive stick and puck session, depending who you get), but there about 6-8 regulars, all of us at close to the same (novice) skill level, and a fun laid-back group. It also helps for me that it's 5-10 minutes from my house.

However, the schedule for that clinic in the next month or two is very sporadic - they're apparently only running it tomorrow, the last thursday of this month, and the last thursday of June. Weird.

When I did the clinic you're referring to, there was a range of experience, from guys who could barely skate to competent players, but not the imbalance or the attitude you describe. I found the instructors to be really good as well, especially Doug (don't know if he's still involved). I would recommend speaking to the hockey director about the situation. And mention that word of mouth is turning potential new participants off of coming out!

Meanwhile, if you're free tomorrow, the "other" clinic runs 7:50-8:50. Come check it out, we could use more guys. I've been discreet about naming the rinks, but if you're not sure where I'm talking about and want to know, PM me.
Doug was actually the coach who played for the dark jersey team

I dunno man. I haven't announced the name of the place on here because I don't want to turn people off from going, because maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just a whiner or missing something or what have you.

But I'll tell you, it just seems like the coaches really don't care whether or not we newer guys got anything out of it. There just seems to be this vibe in the attitude of, "Well, we got your money," and they just can't be bothered.

I mean, I don't want to turn you off from going, because who knows. Maybe it'll be a different composition of guys or maybe you're just good enough at the sport that it won't bother you, but I know that I definitely won't be re-upping for any more sessions.

I'll PM you about what you've got going, thanks for the heads up

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05-01-2013, 09:56 AM
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This is why I've always avoided clinics. They're a money pit more than anything.

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05-01-2013, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
2. Does "the good team" actually feel good and make fun about beating up on new guys...? That's ********. If it were me, their attitude would be far more frustrating than losing all the time.

3. Our "clinic" was so ****** we formed our own scrimmage teams and we aren't going back to the rink. Not everyone is so lucky to have multiple rinks and/or enough contacts to do so, but if you don't like it you can try organizing your own. You may even have a friend who played in high school. If you bribe them with free ice time and beer they might "coach" for free. It sounds like they would do better than the clowns at your clinic.

4. Those guys sound incredibly pathetic. REALLY...just pick on the new guys...for what?
That's the part that really sort of sticks in my craw. They're scoring literally every 15-30 seconds and they're still cheering and high fiving and fist bumping, for the full two hours.

Then if a newer player is trying to move the puck or, you know, do anything at all, you might get a snide comment like, "Hey don't kill yourself there," or the like. Not out and out trash talking, but the type of things the athletes might say to the fat kid at dodgeball in high school.

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05-01-2013, 10:04 AM
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That's the part that really sort of sticks in my craw. They're scoring literally every 15-30 seconds and they're still cheering and high fiving and fist bumping, for the full two hours.

Then if a newer player is trying to move the puck or, you know, do anything at all, you might get a snide comment like, "Hey don't kill yourself there," or the like. Not out and out trash talking, but the type of things the athletes might say to the fat kid at dodgeball in high school.
Wow, what a bunch of crap.

It sounds like a beer league meet-up, not a clinic.

I'd finish it out, then never go back. You would learn more by yourself than with those tools.

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05-01-2013, 10:06 AM
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Wow, what a bunch of crap.

It sounds like a beer league meet-up, not a clinic.
I think that's exactly what it is. You put it in much simpler terms than I've been doing.

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05-01-2013, 10:10 AM
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I think that's exactly what it is. You put it in much simpler terms than I've been doing.
You could probably get 5-6 guys to pitch in and rent a smaller, out of the way rink for a few hours, and accomplish more that you would there, and for the same price.

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05-01-2013, 10:18 AM
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This is why I've always avoided clinics. They're a money pit more than anything.
I've actually had a pretty good experience with clinics. There's a really good program for lower-level players about 30 miles from my house and they police the levels carefully. Instruction is really good and includes coaching during the games. A bit of a hike (though almost all highway) but well worth it.

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05-01-2013, 10:19 AM
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You could probably get 5-6 guys to pitch in and rent a smaller, out of the way rink for a few hours, and accomplish more that you would there, and for the same price.
Yeah, I've been thinking about doing something like this, it's just a risk for whoever actually does the renting, if you don't get enough turnout to make it cost-effective.

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05-01-2013, 10:21 AM
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Yeah, I've been thinking about doing something like this, it's just a risk for whoever actually does the renting, if you don't get enough turnout to make it cost-effective.
True, true. Also, look into inline. That can help mobile puck skills a lot.

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05-01-2013, 10:28 AM
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True, true. Also, look into inline. That can help mobile puck skills a lot.
Yeah, the problem I've found in this area is that the inline and ice programs and leagues are often in direct conflict with each other, time-wise. There's little or no open inline or inline clinics that I'm aware of, and when I've tried to contact guys at the couple of inline facilities here, I never hear back.

One quirk of rec hockey I've noticed is that rinks an hockey programs tend to have terrible, poorly maintained web sites that are rarely up-to-date and/or omit information about entire programs, and poor administration and information management.

I just don't know how people expect to attract new players to hockey when word of mouth/being AT the rink is the only way to find out accurate (or semi-accurate) info about what's going on.

Sorry to steer off-topic. I guess that could be its own thread, really.


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05-01-2013, 10:54 AM
  #23
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There is, there's another which is actually closer to my house that's smaller in terms of number of players and meets on Sunday. It's way more drills than gameplay but the coach keeps things moving (which was actually a bit of an issue at the other clinic, since there were so many people you'd spend a lot of time standing around waiting your turn for drills) and it seems a little more "beginner friendly."
In my experience (playing for 3 years now), you'll benefit alot more, especially in the beginning, from doing drills than playing scrimmages. Skating is all about repetition and muscle memory - you'll get that in drills not so much in games. And that's true of the other skills too. Sure, you'll want some gameplay because that's why we play hockey but drills are huge. You'll touch the puck a lot more than you will in a game, especially if youre playing against tools who are just trying to tune you up. I 'm actually dropping out of one of my leagues for the summer so I can focus on a clinic and do some powerkskating camps. LT that will help me get better.

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05-01-2013, 10:58 AM
  #24
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In my experience (playing for 3 years now), you'll benefit alot more, especially in the beginning, from doing drills than playing scrimmages. Skating is all about repetition and muscle memory - you'll get that in drills not so much in games. And that's true of the other skills too. Sure, you'll want some gameplay because that's why we play hockey but drills are huge. You'll touch the puck a lot more than you will in a game, especially if youre playing against tools who are just trying to tune you up. I 'm actually dropping out of one of my leagues for the summer so I can focus on a clinic and do some powerkskating camps. LT that will help me get better.
I like everything here. Sure, playing can help your skill, but so much changes in a game that unless you practice certain things in a structured environment like drills, you'll panic and make massive mistakes.

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05-01-2013, 11:24 AM
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Yeah, the problem I've found in this area is that the inline and ice programs and leagues are often in direct conflict with each other, time-wise. There's little or no open inline or inline clinics that I'm aware of, and when I've tried to contact guys at the couple of inline facilities here, I never hear back.

One quirk of rec hockey I've noticed is that rinks an hockey programs tend to have terrible, poorly maintained web sites that are rarely up-to-date and/or omit information about entire programs, and poor administration and information management.

I just don't know how people expect to attract new players to hockey when word of mouth/being AT the rink is the only way to find out accurate (or semi-accurate) info about what's going on.

Sorry to steer off-topic. I guess that could be its own thread, really.
This is definitely something I've noticed as well. There is very, very little around here that seems directed towards beginner players. The overall vibe is one of, if you didn't grow up in the sport, we don't have anything for you.

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