The New Jersey Devils, along with the National Hockey League Players Association, are offering a unique opportunity for kids to learn to play hockey alongside former NHL players.

The program runs through April and is intended to lower the barriers that prevent children from playing hockey. As a parent of a child who went through learn-to-play hockey programs and wound up playing youth hockey for 12 years, I can attest that hockey can be a great way for kids to learn skills both on and off the ice; plus, you get to hang out with other hockey parents. The age range for the program is 5-9 years old.

The Devils are sponsoring multiple sites throughout the state for the program. For a complete list, go here. The American Dream Mall in the Meadowlands is holding girls only sessions as well. While having the ability to ice skate isn’t absolutely required, it is strongly recommended that the child enroll in a learn to skate program prior to the learn to play participation. Learn to Play costs about $230 and includes the ice time and the equipment needed to play. As someone who wrote plenty of checks for ice time, let me assure you, that is quite a bargain.

Rob Zepp, manager of special projects for the NHLPA and a former professional hockey player, most recently with the Philadelphia Flyers, told NorthJersey.com that USA Hockey (the governing body for youth hockey) that kids’ participation in hockey saw record growth before the pandemic; the Devils’ program alone served about 3,000 participants over a four year period.

You can register your child here.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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