Janice Kurbjun
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October 4, 2012
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Turning youth on to hockey

Hannah Harvey laced up her hockey skates and took to the ice when she was about 10 years old.

Today, she still plays.

That's a feat Summit Youth Hockey hopes to achieve during its upcoming free skate days, which are designed to expose young, potential players to the sport.

"Hockey isn't the easiest thing to just try," said Jessica Johns, Summit Youth Hockey's marketing coordinator. The free skate days offer everything needed, from skates to pads, for kids as young as four to adolescents to give the sport a shot.

The first free skate day is Sunday, from 10:15-11:30 a.m. The second is designed specifically for girls. It's labeled USA Hockey's girls' hockey weekend, and is designed for young ladies interested in trying the sport. It's slated for Oct. 15 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The biggest free skate day will be on Nov. 3. All events are at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge.

Harvey remembers learning a lot during her time in Summit Youth Hockey, from respect for a coach to camaraderie with teammates.

"Hockey really laid down that foundation for who I am," said Harvey, who now attends Metro State University and plays for a women's team, the Mavericks, and Rocky Mountain Select. She also coaches a U14 traveling team based in Arvada. Previously, she left Summit Youth Hockey to play for Colorado Select at the end of high school, and was recruited to Trinity College in Connecticut on a Division 3 hockey ticket.

"It teaches you a lot. You learn a lot of life lessons through it, like dedication, teamwork - and the camaraderie of the team is basically why it's fun," Harvey said. "I have a connection to the game. It's a way that you can get away for a little bit and play and have fun. (Summit Youth Hockey) inspired me to go forward with the game."

She said the coaches also contributed to her love of the game, and she always felt welcome at the ice arena.

"It was a place where I felt like I belonged. The people at the rink were always super nice. I really enjoyed going to practices and games. I learned a lot," she said.

Harvey said she learned the fundamentals in the hockey league, and was able to build off them as she progressed.

Those are precisely the reasons Johns promotes the program, and the free skate days.

"This is a good program. You can build your skills here," Johns said. The program is currently 150 members strong, but Johns and others want to see it grow. Roughly 30 percent of that is girls, and as the girls' coach, she'd like to see that grow.

Johns pointed out that Harvey isn't the only one to go on to play Division 3 hockey. Evan Street is currently at University of Colorado - Boulder, playing the sport.


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The Summit Daily Updated Oct 4, 2012 07:51PM Published Oct 4, 2012 07:48PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.