Fun at the ice rink that doesn’t require skates

Saturday October 3, 2009
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The other day, I had a free morning with Adam.  With nothing else planned, I decided to drive over to the Kettler Ice Rink to scope it out as a potential birthday party venue.   The Kettler Capital Iceplex, which, in case you didn’t know, is home to Washington Capitals.  They play their home games at the Verizon Center in DC, but hold practices at Kettler.

As it turned out, practice was in session, so we decided to check it out.   Practices at Kettler are free and open to the public.   You can view their practice schedule online.

I am not a hockey fan and know nothing about the sport.   Once, when my younger brother (a hockey fan) was in college, I bought tickets for him & I to attend a game together.   At the end of the second period, I stood up and said, “Well that was fun.”  He looked at me quizzically and said, “There are three periods in ice hockey.”  Doh.

Anywho, even for a neophyte like myself, it was fun to watch the practice.   I hadn’t a clue what was going on, but you are so close to the rink, it’s really interesting to be so close to the action (I feel the same way about live baseball).  Here’s the pictures from our outing:

From the top of the bleachers:

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Some drill practicing shots on goal  (see, I can figure out a few things..)

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Some other drill where two players in opposing jerseys would sprint out for a quick scrimmage (or drill) where the nets were placed at opposite ends of the short side of the rink.

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The bleachers stop right at eye level.  It was fun to see little Adam up against the giant players.

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I finally asked a more knowledgeable fan which player was Ovechkin (I had, at least, heard of the star player).   He wears #8 (the practice jerseys aren’t marked, but the back of the helmets are).   In the picture below, he is the one wearing dark in the center of the screen.

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While at the rink, I discovered, it is a great place for toddlers and preschoolers to burn off some steam.   During practice, the rink is loud (pucks flying, smacking) and visually interesting.   Even when the action on the ice doesn’t hold their attention, climbing the bleachers is lots of fun.  Other folks are there, but it’s not crowded and many people had young children in tow.

When the rink itself gets old, the upstairs of Kettler is another source of fun.   On the hockey side, you have to go through doors to access the ice arena, but on the other side of the complex, the figure skating rink is visible from a bay of windows.  You can easily watch people there from the comfort of chairs and couches.  The front half of the upstairs is carpeted and nice.  The rest of it is oddly unfinished.  It has a bare concrete floor with nothing but lighting and support pillars in the space.  I have no idea what they plan to do with the space (it’s been like that for several years), but I’ve heard other moms say they bring ride-on toys for their toddlers and let them scoot around.

We went down to the mall and picked up lunch (Chick-Fil-a!) and then came back to the upstairs area to eat, watch, and run around.   On our way out, we saw the Zamboni cleaning the ice.  While I’m not 100% sure we’ll be doing a birthday party on ice, I can say for sure, I’ll be bringing my munchkins back when the winter crazies start to take hold.

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One Response to Fun at the ice rink that doesn’t require skates

  1. 1
    Renee says:

    I think my kids would like going there. Thanks for the tip.

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