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is fantastic exercise

builds confidence

builds character

improves communication skills

improves mental agility

teaches the importance of focus, resilience and teamwork

teaches that dedication and repetition are essential for improvement

develops social skills on and off the ice

develops lifelong friendships for both kids and parents



North Reading Youth Hockey has built an outstanding Learn to Skate program. 

We offer a FREE ($50 Registration Fee) 8 week Learn to Skate/ Intro to Hockey program. 


All skills are welcome, ages 3-10.  This is open to residents of all cities and towns.




This is an opportunity to get your child on the ice and see if skating is for them.

When:   Sundays, 1:10-2 pm (2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17, 3/24, 3/31)

Where: James McVann- Louis O’Keefe Memorial Skating Rink, 511 Lowell Street, Peabody

REGISTER:  (If you don't already have an account on our site then you will need to create one to register.)

Any questions?  Please contact TJ Vadala at 



Q: What is the difference between Mini Mites, Learn to Skate and Intro to Hockey?

A: Learn to Skate Program is for children (3-10) with little or no skating experience. The Intro to Hockey Program (3-10) is for more experienced skaters that can move forward, backward and can start and stop.  The Learn to Skate and Intro to Hockey are short 8 week programs scheduled when there is demand throughout the year. Mini-mites is a season long program designed to teach brand new skaters (4-10) how to skate and play hockey. Mini-Mites starts in late October and runs through late March or early April.


 Q: What about Mini-Mites -- Does my child have to know how to skate to do Mini-Mites? Is it also a Learn to Skate / Intro to Hockey Program?

A: Yes -- the Mini-Mite program is a structured learn to skate and intro to hockey program.  Your child does not need to know how to skate to join the mini-mite program.  (Mini-Mites also offers a pro-rated refund of tuition in the first 60 days of the program if your child does not take to the sport.) 


 Q: My child wants to play hockey but has no skating experience?

A: That is ok and any of our programs will be suitable for first time skaters.  


Q: How will the children be grouped?

A: To ensure a safe and fun atmosphere for all kids we will make every effort to group children of like ability and age together. We expect to have small groups that will play differing skill developing games that are fun and easygoing. The children will not even know they are learning to skate. They will just think it is all fun and games.  Before the program starts we will send out a questionnaire that will help us gauge where your children should be!  We will change on the fly if children are more or less experienced.


Q: What should I do if my child has never skated before?

A: Many of the skaters have never skated before and this will be their first experience. Arrive 30 minutes early to allow enough time to get skates on and walk around a bit. While waiting for the program to start have your child march in the skates to help learn balance (be sure to stay on the rubber mats to protect the blades).


Q: What should I do if my child seems to hate skating?

A: Many of the skaters have never skated before and this will be their first experience. Some will be scared and afraid of going on the ice.  This is ok and to be expected.  If you step back many will forget their fear and join in the fun.  If they do not, then we will take them back to you so you can try the following week!


Q: Can I go on the ice if my child is upset or wants me there?

A: No.  Unfortunately we cannot have parents on the ice for liability reasons.  We also find that when parents are on the ice the children are not challenged to get up on their own and will wait until a parent picks them up. 


Q: What Aids (Crates, bars, etc) will you use in the beginning?

A: No.  We do not use such aids as they only lengthen the time a child learns to stand on the ice by themselves.  We have had GREAT success not using these devices and find that 95% of children learn how to get up on their own within the first class or two.  (We learned this trick from some of the best figure-skating teachers in the business.)


Q: What time should I be at the rink?

A: We ask that you arrive 30 minutes before each class to get your children ready and so we can use all the ice available for productive instruction.


Q: What should my child wear if they are in the Learn to Skate Program?

A: Your child should have a helmet (bike helmets are ok), long pants, warm coat, gloves and skates. Several layers are recommended.  If you can get hockey pads (pants, shin, and elbow pads) it is recommended even if your child is doing the learn to skate as they cushion them when they fall


Q: What should my child wear if they are in the Intro to Hockey Program?

A: Full hockey equipment is required to participate in Intro to Hockey. We understand that no one wants to invest in equipment if your child doesn’t like to play the game, but there will be others with sticks and pucks and we don't want any injuries.  We recommend investing in more traditional hockey equipment such as a HECC hockey helmet with cage, gloves, shoulder, shin, and elbow pads, pants and socks and jersey.  We recommend checking out the Play it Again Stores in town for used equipment for much less than new.  Remember your kids might get one year out of these.  Used is the way to go.


Q: What happens if I miss a class? Are there makeups?

A: Unfortunately, because we are offering this service for free, we cannot have make-up sessions. Don’t worry about missing a class or two, but remember the skills built in each session are cumulative. To get the most out of it, you should try and attend as many as you can. 


Q: What size and type of skates should my child wear?

A: Any single blade skate is appropriate however hockey skates can be more challenging to a beginner because of the blade shape. Sizing varies depending on the manufacturer and type of skates and therefore there is no general rule.


Q: What if my child does not have skates?

A: Skates are available for rent at the rink. The charge is $6-8.00 per session for rentals. Please call the rink beforehand as the pro-shop may not be open all times.


Q: How do I put the skates on my child?

A: Make sure that the skater’s foot is fully in the boot by asking them to stand up in the skate. Also, because they look alike, make sure the skates are on the right feet. Just as you would a work boot, tighten the laces over the foot so they are snug and don’t pull if you run your finger over them. Work your way all the way up to the top making sure that all hooks or loops are used then tie the laces like you would a shoe. Skates should be snug, but not painful.


Q: How can I register for classes?

A: The easiest and most efficient way to register for classes is online at our website at


Q: My child wants to keep learning, what’s the next step?

A: That is great! As a youth hockey program we offer fun and exciting paths to progress in the excellent game of hockey. We will be offering additional hockey instruction programs over the next several months as well as our Mini-Mite program that lasts for several months beginning in the late Fall. Our Mini-Mite program is an excellent way to learn the fundamentals of hockey. Please see your instructors for more information.


Q: We found these classes were very good for my child, how can I help?

A: We find that we have many satisfied families after this class that want to donate to our program.  As a non-profit we are always looking for funding!  Please feel free to donate any amount you can online at our website at


External links are provided for reference purposes. North Reading Youth Hockey is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Copyright North Reading Youth Hockey

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