Saturday was as beautiful a day as you’d want for skating, and consequently the Buckskill Winter Club’s rink was bustling.
As Tim Luzadre and several assistants ran a surprisingly skilled group of 9-and-under boys through junior hockey drills, Joanne Doran, who also oversees tennis there from April through early November, spoke of the club’s winter programs.
In her third year as the club’s manager, Doran, who spent much of her youth skating at Lake Placid — and therefore knows what cold is — said figure skating and ice hockey had taken off, and that the Wednesday afternoon basic skills classes for beginners from 4 through 12, designed to get them ready for the junior hockey clinics, had tripled during her tenure.
Luzadre and the club’s other hockey pros, including Jason Norris and Ryan Koresky, had hoped to launch an East Hampton High School hockey team this season that would have played away games at the Rinx in Hauppauge, but that apparently will have to wait, perhaps until the 9-year-olds seen the other day become teenagers.
Doran, who gives private skating lessons, as do the club’s other pros, said the low-cost Friday night, 6:45 to 9, Firefly sessions for students spanning grades 6 through 12 would continue. “We limited them to teenagers last year.” (The cost of admission is $8 and rentals $3.)
“We’ve been only open for three Fridays,” she said, “but the turnout has been good, especially from Springs and the Ross School. The cost is almost half what’s usually charged. The snack bar is open and there’s always a fire in the fireplace.”
There is also open Firefly skating at Buckskill from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Among the club’s new offerings, she said, are the Bring a Friend Contest for kids under 18, whose winner (the one who by season’s end has brought in the most friends) will get a free junior membership next year; a low-cost Thursday (6 to 9 p.m.) Date Night Skate, with hot chocolate included; a Hit the Ice adult fitness lap program aimed at improving balance, endurance, core strength, and aerobic performance (11 laps around the rink equals a mile), and private lesson packages for basic skills skaters.
Adult hockey too has been “very, very busy,” Doran said. The club’s schedule has hour-and-a-half slots for drop-in hockey throughout the week.
In addition, she said, there were “60 to 70” kids who had registered thus far — “a lot of them boys” — for the Winter Club’s season-ending ice show in mid-March.
As for skating in general, “it’s a great form of outdoor exercise for people of all ages — you don’t even know you’re exercising. You’re getting fit — I’ve been doing it for 30 years and I still feel it after I’ve come off the ice from a lesson. And,” she said with a smile, “it’s affordable. So come on down.”