I never have been much of a hockey fan. But, perhaps inspired by an amazing new facility and high-caliber athleticism, even I got caught up in Hockey Valley fever at Penn State’s opening game against Army in the beautiful new Pegula Ice Arena on campus.
It is hard not to be impressed at this two-sheet, 6,000-seat, state-of-the-art ice arena. Not only is it a fun place to watch the Penn State men’s and women’s teams play NCAA Division I hockey, but it’s a great facility for our community to use for lessons, hockey leagues and public skating sessions.
On Friday, families will have a unique opportunity to hit the ice at the Pegula Ice Arena when the Penn State Figure Skating Club hosts SkateFest. Don’t worry if you or your kids don’t know how to skate. The event includes a free 30-minute group lesson, followed by a 15-minute open skate, as well as a group photo, prizes and celebrity skaters from the Musselman’s Applesauce Family Skating Tribute Ice Show, which will be at the arena Nov. 3.
There will be two 45-minute sessions, and each is limited to 100 skaters. The first starts at 4:30 p.m., and the second starts at 5:15 p.m. Registration for both sessions begins at 3:45 p.m. The event is free.
If you miss SkateFest, look for other chances to try out the new facility. Two-hour public skating sessions take place every weekend. There are also group figure skating lesson programs for every age and every skill level, group hockey lessons for ages 5 to12 and private lessons. You can even rent out the ice for a birthday party. Go to www.gopsusports.com/pegula-ice-arena for information about pricing and schedules.
If you have your own ice skates and you want to do some old-school outdoor skating, check out the Village Ice Rink at Blue Spring Park in Boalsburg this winter. This is a weather-dependent, on-ground rink maintained by volunteers. When the weather turns, call the Centre Region Parks and Recreation Ice Line at 234-7146 anytime to check on ice conditions.
For those who prefer skates on wheels to those on blades, the closest roller rink is Penn Skates at 2210 High Tech Road, near the University Park Airport. It offers family skate nights every Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., geared toward families with young children who are allowed to bring riding toys with at least three wheels if they would rather not skate.
Public skating sessions for any age also are offered every weekend. Parents who are not skating are allowed to accompany their kids for free and may like to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.
Penn Skates also is a licensed child care facility offering in-service day camps when local schools are closed, as well as early childhood care, after-school care and summer camps. With its arcade, large seating area and food concessions, Penn Skates is a popular place to have birthday parties, too. Go to pennskates.com for more information.