Helmets rule city rinksHeading to a city ice skating rink is going to require more than a pair of skates and stocking cap this winter.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Heading to a city ice skating rink is going to require more than a pair of skates and stocking cap this winter.
Anyone age 16 or younger planning to skate is going to need a hockey helmet.
“I had quite a bit of energy about it because of SAHA,” said Council President Dan Olson. “We use the outdoor rinks quite a bit for practice.”
As a coach for the Superior Area Hockey Association, Olson said its normal to see the kids associated with the youth hockey program to be out there in helmets, but there are always kids running around at the city rinks without helmets.
With the high cost of health care these days, Olson said it just made sense to try to prevent injuries.
“The fact is that we can get a kid into a $40 helmet that could very easily save them a $500 trip to the emergency room,” Olson said.
Chris Stenberg, owner of Play It Again Sports, said the new policy makes sense.
A fall on the ice can be every bit as dangerous as a fall on concrete when you’re dealing with speed and an unforgiving surface, Stenberg said.
So, to help soften the blow for parents who will find themselves in need of a new helmet so their kids can skate at public rinks this winter, Stenberg is planning to reduce the cost on hockey helmets. He is still trying to determine the best way to distribute coupons that will allow parents to save $9 to $19 dollars on four styles of hockey helmets.
For safety and health reasons, Stenberg said the used sporting equipment store doesn’t sell used helmets.
The city begins enforcing the new policy when the rinks open for the season.
Olson said the new policy is no different than policies that exist in Duluth, Esko, Proctor and Hermantown.
“I think the first year is going to be a little bit trying,” Olson said. He anticipates resistance from kids accustomed to heading to the rink without one, but expects that once kids get used to the new rule, resistance will fade.
The rule will be enforced on city hockey rinks; “however, if we pull a net on a figure skating rink, we’re going to enforce the rule,” said Parks and Recreation Administrator Mary Morgan.
The policy specifically requires hockey helmets. Bike and other helmets not specifically designed to protect skaters won’t be allowed.
“It’s going to be bit of a difference for people,” Morgan said.
“One of the things that people are going to say is that it’s really expensive and people can’t afford it. My answer to that is that … $ 40 for a helmet to save you from going to the emergency room is really worth it,” Olson said.