One of my favorite things to do growing up was ice skating. My dad taught me how to skate starting about the time I was 4 or 5 years old. I remember using one of those red skate training walkers that you hold onto and push for balance and stability. It wasn’t long until I didn’t need it anymore, and I would zip around the rink. I was never one who cared much about doing tricks or playing games: I craved speed. By middle school, skating was a regular pass time for my friends and me on the weekends. In high school, skating became a great date location. I didn’t skate nearly as much in college, but I always found an excuse here or there to lace up the skates. Going to college in Albany, I would try to make one visit a year to Empire Plaza’s outdoor skating (which is beautiful, and I highly recommend it). 

One rink in particular where I spent much of my time was the McCann Center in Poughkeepsie. So, now that I am back in Poughkeepsie and looking for fun indoor activities this winter, I figured I would check in and see what they are up to. Whether you are a beginner or an aficionado, IceTime Sports and McCann Arena may have something for you and your skating desires.

Public Skating

ice skating
Getty Stock, Nathan Allred

IceTime Sports Complex and McCann Arena host open skating sessions for all ages and abilities. General admission for adults is only $11, and children 10 and younger get in for $7. It is best to check their calendar online for open times. 

Friday Night Party Skate

Woman and man ice skating. winter outdoors on ice rink. ice and legs
Getty Images, Diy13

Continuing on recreational skating, join their Friday Night Party Skate from 7 pm. - 9 pm. filled with music and lots of fun. General admission is $15, but add another $5 for skate rentals. This event is perfect for a cheap night out with friends, a good date night idea, or a simply nice way to get out of the house and be active. 

Ice Time Freestyle

Old ice skates on white and blue vintage background
Getty Stock/ThinkStock, anskuw

For more advanced skaters out there, they offer Open Freestyle sessions which are geared for practice for figure/dance skating, along with private lesson instruction. This is not to be confused with public skating. Each session is $16 per hour. The only “trick” I can do on the ice is skate backward. One time I did a spin when a kid ran into me, does that count as figure skating?

Ice Time Learn to Skate

ice skate
Getty Stock/ThinkStock MicroBeans Studio

If you’re looking for a more formal experience as to how to learn to skate, they have you covered. The McCann Center also offers lessons to help people learn to skate. They have a 7-week course which includes a 30-minute class followed by 30 minutes of practice. They have proficiency levels ranging from Snowplow SAM 1 to Freeskate following the USFSA curriculum.

Stick time

Child playing ice hockey
ThinkStock, bigjohn36

Stick Time is like an “open gym” for hockey players. It is loosely supervised and allows players to practice skating and puck handling. This is a good time to practice working on mechanics and skills rather than getting games going. Stick Time is open to all ages. 

One time I went to Stick Time with a friend of mine who was really into hockey. At the time, the only experience I ever had was street hockey, and let me tell you, they are two different feels. He lent me a stick, tried to show me how to handle the puck, and even showed me some shooting drills. After that day, it was safe to say I was never going to be drafted for the NHL, let alone a peewee team. I was a lacrosse goalie in high school, perhaps I’d do better in goal than skating around on the ice. 

Open Hockey

hockey photo
Getty Images, Artur Didyk

Just like going to your local gym for pick-up basketball games, Open Hockey is meant to allow players to create pick-up games in full pads. Unlike Stick Time, this is more competitive and tends to be full-on games. Since these tend to be full-action games, participants must be at least 18 years old. I may be old enough to go, but based on my time going to Stick Time, the closest you’ll find me is in the stands watching.

Off-Ice Training

diverse equipment and machines at the gym room
Getty Stock, jongjet303

For anyone focusing on fitness, their Off-Ice Training is designed for figure skaters and their coaches. These classes focus on building muscle, stability, and endurance to optimize jumping, spinning, and dancing on ice. 

Whatever your level, whatever your interest, IceTime and McCann Center have something for everyone to enjoy this season!

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