Doug and Kathryn de Groot, who own the Buckskill Tennis Club here, which is turned over to skating in the winter, are making a big push for the young set.
“We’re putting an emphasis on kids with our after-school and weekend junior hockey, figure skating, and regular skating offerings,” Kathryn de Groot said Saturday morning as 20-plus youngsters, under Tim Luzadre’s direction, were doing hockey drills and scrimmaging on Buckskill’s rink, which overlies about six Har-Tru tennis courts.
Chris Doran, an East Hampton High School senior who played high school hockey in New Jersey the past two years before moving here, said he was happy indeed that Buckskill’s hockey program is growing. “I’m here almost every day,” said Doran, who hopes to play (and take F.B.I. preparatory courses) at New Haven College.
Tim Garneau, whose sons, Henry, 10, and Barton, 9, play every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in the club’s intramural ice hockey, said, “I’m hoping they’ll play on a high school hockey team here some day. The last two winters I’ve taken them to the Rinx in Hauppauge. They have the only youth league in the county, but it’s an hour and 20-minute drive. So I’m much happier that they can come here and get two hours of ice time.” The program for seventh through 12th-grade boys and girls welcomes students from the Bridgehampton, Southampton, East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Ross schools.
“We want everybody to come,” Kathryn de Groot said, “which is why the fee for the after-school program is modest, and why, if some parents can’t afford it, scholarships are available.”
She and her husband said that they hope the intramural ice hockey program under way will lead eventually — perhaps in two years’ time — to an interscholastic travel team made up of South Fork high school students.
“The team could practice here and play games here as well as up the Island, where they have an interscholastic hockey league,” said Doug de Groot.
The club’s Web site is buckskillwinterclub.com.