Submitted by Mt. Shasta Ice Breakers

If you haven’t noticed the activity at the Siskiyou Ice Rink in Mt. Shasta this season, you’re missing some amazing stuff! Aside from the gorgeous view from the rink, and a setting that rivals top winter destinations in the country, the improvements at the rink and the growing interest in the sport of ice hockey is noteworthy.

The Siskiyou Ice Rink, or “The Rink” as it’s referred to, was originally built in 2001.

It’s been historically used by locals and visitors to the area for playing hockey, and just for the fun of ice skating. In the last few years, however, the sport of ice hockey has gotten a little more serious for some, in a fun way.

In 2015, the Icebreakers hockey team was organized with approximately 28 kids and 2 adults, many who learned to skate as they learned the game of hockey. Since that time, interest in the rink and hockey as a competitive and intramural sport has gained momentum, and this year has been its most successful year ever with 62 kids (ranging in age from 4 to 18) and 15 adults.

The mission of the Mt. Shasta Icebreaker’s is simple: provide a fun, safe atmosphere for the sport of hockey that emphasizes skill development, and also promotes value-based life lessons, including the importance of hard work, dedication to goals and good sportsmanship.

This was never so apparent than at a most recent game. Mt. Shasta was hosting the Klamath Ice Hawks from Klamath Falls (the team has also traveled and played there). The Icebreakers youth took to the ice with heart and soul. The athleticism is amazing! The skill these kids have on the ice and playing the game is absolutely incredible! If you go watch, it will be hard to take your eyes off the game. At the same time, everyone gets to play. Respect and courtesy toward each other and the coaches is paramount.

Although it’s not all about “winning” the game, proudly, our local team skated to victory.

Also new this year, the Learn to Play/Beginners will have a chance to play both in Mt. Shasta and in Klamath Falls. Games with the Ashland Aces are also planned for the first time.

Like all sports, the success of a growing hockey program is dependent on a lot of commitment from parents, coaches, and the community.

The program is supporting a growing number of kids in some substantial ways. In 2018, the program fully sponsored five youth; paying for their season pass to the ice rink as well as the required USA hockey membership. Additionally, five USA hockey certified coaches provide leadership and training, and, new (badly needed) hockey gear was purchased.

Community fundraiser

Of course, the gear, the training, the equipment, and maintenance at The Rink comes at a cost. To help with this, a community fundraiser was introduced in 2017 – the Shasta Mountain Art, Wine and Brew Festival. This event, which will be in its third annual this summer, is held the first Saturday in July as the primary fundraiser to support, the Icebreaker Team, the Rink and the sport of skating in general in our county. The festival has drawn people from all over to come together and enjoy local artisans, delicious cuisine, fabulous live music, award winning wineries and craft breweries. Attendees also have a chance to win some really outstanding prizes at the raffle.

“One of our goals with the funds from the Festival is to make sure no child that wants to play hockey gets left behind,” says Ruth Altes, hockey mom and secretary of the Icebreaker organization. “We want the ability to provide hockey gear, ice passes, and membership fees to any youth that wants to play the sport of hockey. We recognize that it can be a fairly expensive sport and we don’t want that to be a reason for kids not to play.”

The success of this program is also a success for the community. Hosting games brings families from out of town into our area. Youth and adult hockey practices and/or pick-up games are played six days per week. The rink has even developed a family hockey session on Sundays from 10:30-11:45 where parents can play with their kids. This has become one of the most consistently attended events on a regular basis.

“We plan to continue to grow the program and to continue to support and improve the Siskiyou Ice Rink,” said Altes. “If you haven’t been down to watch the kids skate, try it; or, try out the ice for yourself! The Rink has a snack shack, a nice fire pit and stands. We think you’ll enjoy your time there.”

Game and skating schedules are posted on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mtshastahockey/.

The third annual Shasta Mountain Art, Wine and Brewfest is scheduled for July 6 at the Iron Horse Unlimited Event Venue. For more information on the event go to: www.artwinebrewfest.com