Ice Skating & Ice Hockey
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My 11 year old son has been inspired to want to play ice hockey (why did I say ''yes'' to watching a few Sharks games?!) and I was wondering about the camps at the Oakland Ice Arena. And since he's not a strong skater - is it a ridiculous idea to sign him up? not a jock mom
If you are willing to drive a bit farther, our TriValley Minor Hockey Association run out of Dublin, is a great place to get your son started. We have an Inhouse (no travel) division that takes kids at all levels. My son is not a particularly strong skater either, and has found playing for the Blue Devils inhouse league to be quite fun. No matter the location, hockey is a great sport for kids!! Check it out: http://www.trivalleyminorhockey.com/tvmha_summerhockey.htm Susan
Is there any organized group for kids that plays street hockey? Our neighbor (in his 20s, from Upstate NY) has introduced my boys to street hockey. One boy has really taken to it (and he's generally less into team sports) and it would be great to encourage him, get some coaching, and have him play with a group of kids. Alternatively, is there any venue for ice hockey other than the Bladium? We're in El Cerrito and that's pretty far away. kk
I don't know of any outdoor organized kids' roller hockey around here, but Dry Ice in Oakland (http://www.dryicehockey.com/) has youth roller leagues. They're over by the Oakland Coliseum, which may not be any more convenient than Bladium from El Cerrito. The nearest ice hockey rink in the East Bay is Oakland Ice downtown, since the demise of Berkeley Iceland a few years back. Hockey Mom
We just moved to the East Bay and my husband is looking to drop-in on casual ice-hockey games or sign up for a recreation league near Albany. Any recommendations? Agnes
My husband plays pick up hockey at Dublin Ice (a long drive, I know) -- it's Monday, Wednesday and Friday, see http://www.dubliniceland.com/hockey.cfm for times. Oakland Ice offers pickup 5 days a week -- see http://www.oaklandice.com/hockey_pickuphockey.html.
Both rinks also offer rec leagues, and Yerba Buena rink in the city does, too. Unfortunately with the demise of Berkeley Iceland I don't know of anything closer to Albany. Future hockey mom
We are looking into having an ice skating birthday party for our 7 year old at either Berkeley Iceland or the Oakland Ice Skating Rink. Has anyone had experience at either of these places? We are leaning toward the Oakland Rink because they provide you with a room, skates, party supplies and bags, pizza, soda for a fixed price per child. I have heard that the party room at Berkeley Iceland is not very nice and, at $50 an hour, expensive. The staff seems to discourage people from renting the room and suggest that you just take up a few tables in the public area. I do not like this idea - scrambling for tables and trying to have a party where others are getting ready to skate. Any suggestions? MK
We had my daughter's 6th birthday party at Berkeley Iceland. The key to the success was that we hired a teacher for a group lesson. An area was designated at the end of the ice rink just for the party and for those kids who didn't know how to skate, they got a lesson. I think the cost was around $100 (well worth it). It turned out that only 2 kids knew how to skate, but by the end of the party, all the kids were skating. I also hired our babysitter and her sister (both skaters) to be on standby to hold hands and skate with the novices. It was well worth the $40 (total) I paid them.
Our invitation advised that a lesson was provided, and that if parents wanted to skate, it would be at their own expense. No one seemed to mind, and in fact, most parents opted to not skate given the lesson and the skater helpers. Also, for those parents who did pay to skate were very understanding of our decision since we gave them advance notice.
Iceland has a party room, but it is kind of funky (like most of the place) and didn't seem that the extra expense was worth it. So my husband got to the rink when the doors opened and managed to get two tables for our party in the snack room. We picked up pizza about an hour into the lesson/skating from a pizzeria nearby and brought our own drinks and snacks, etc. The rink will tell you that they want you to purchase from their vending machines, but I told them that I preferred organic juices and snacks (as opposed to the junk they offered) and I didn't have any problems.
It was great fun and I am hoping my daughter wants to do it again for her 7th birthday.
Good luck. Shoshana
We had an ice skating party at the Oakland Ice Arena for my daughter on her fifth birthday (three years ago). I felt that it went pretty well, although most of the children hadn't skated before, so the parents ended up paying to skate, too. We regretted not buying their tickets, but it all happened so fast that we hardly noticed until the lesson actually included a lot of parents holding their children upright on the ice! Perhaps seven year olds will be a bit more able to handle the challenge? Or be prepared to pay for adults to skate, too? We tried to reimburse the parents (for we hadn't intended that they pay for themselves), but they were too kind to accept the money. Oops....
As for the pizza and the room, that went fine. We were scheduled right after another party, but the switch over went well enough. I really liked that I didn't have to bring more than the cake and the party favors, especially since I had a babe-in-arms as well at the time. It was overall a good party, and we sure tired out those parents, I mean the kids! Caroline
We are thinking of enrolling our daughter (almost 3) in one of the classes at Berkeley Iceland. Has anyone experience with these skating classes for very young children? Are there any particularly recommendable and affordable classes in the area? We would appreciate any advice on this topic. Thanks.
From: Kim (Dec 1997)
Berkeley Iceland has a very nice 'Family Session' on Wednesday nights at 6:30 that we attend. They form a number of small groups for class lessons 7:00 to 7:30. You pay only for the weeks you attend - it is ongoing. They usually have a couple of skating pros that teach the little kids - I know many that started at age three. Each group including adults has their own teacher. You can stay free for the public session afterwards if you still have the energy. If you give that a try you can talk to the pros there about other classes you are interested in.
From: Cecilia (Dec 1997)
I was also thinking of taking my 2-year-old daughter to an ice skating class at Berkeley Iceland. The woman there said that I could sign up for the class, but my daughter may be too young for it to work. Parents are not allowed on the ice with the kids. She said that I could sign up for the class, and if it didn't work out for Diana, I could get my money back.
I decided to take Diana out for a trial run. We invited her best friend (another 2-year-old girl) and went out for an afternoon of ice skating at a public session.
I was able to get the skates on her (yes, they had her size) and get her out on the ice for about 2 minutes. Then she wanted the skates off. Then she and her little friend had a lot of fun running up and down the bleachers and begging for snacks out of the candy machines...
I think I'm going to wait until she's a little older. Berkeley Iceland is a great rink, and I've always enjoyed skating there. Maybe if Diana sees me skating she'll want to copy me eventually?
Iceland in Berkeley has Hockey and figure skating programs. -- Veronica
Oakland skate on 17th in Oakland off of telegraph has a great ice skating program, league figure skating and even a class for indiviudals with disabilities. -Kim
Berkeley Iceland (2727 Milvia St, Berkeley, CA 94703 510/843-8800) has an Ice Hockey Mite Team (ages 6-8 I believe) called the Berkeley Bulldogs. My son has been in this program three years now - a very nice group!. They have both inhouse and travel teams for hockey of all ages, as well as figure skating classes. Oakland Ice Center (519 18th, Oakland CA 510/268-9000) also has ice hockey, but I can't recall the name of the team or if they start as young as Mites. -- Kim