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updated: 3/1/2014 6:05 PM

Kids learn to play hockey in Hoffman Estates

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  • Evan Sher, 5, of Hanover Park learns to stay up on his skates using an orange traffic cone at USA Hockey's annual Try Hockey For Free event at the Triphahn Center on Saturday in Hoffman Estates.

       Evan Sher, 5, of Hanover Park learns to stay up on his skates using an orange traffic cone at USA Hockey's annual Try Hockey For Free event at the Triphahn Center on Saturday in Hoffman Estates.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Evan Sher, 5, of Hanover Park, learns to stay up on his skates using an orange traffic cone at USA Hockey's annual Try Hockey For Free event at the Triphahn Center on Saturday in Hoffman Estates.

       Evan Sher, 5, of Hanover Park, learns to stay up on his skates using an orange traffic cone at USA Hockey's annual Try Hockey For Free event at the Triphahn Center on Saturday in Hoffman Estates.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Angelina Sadowski, 6, of Streamwood, learns to stay up on her skates using a folding chair at USA Hockey's annual Try Hockey For Free event at the Triphahn Center on Saturday in Hoffman Estates.

       Angelina Sadowski, 6, of Streamwood, learns to stay up on her skates using a folding chair at USA Hockey's annual Try Hockey For Free event at the Triphahn Center on Saturday in Hoffman Estates.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Bobby Blendow, Wolf Pack Hockey Club coach, teaches beginners how to fall before taking the ice during USA Hockey's annual Try Hockey For Free event at the Triphahn Center on Saturday in Hoffman Estates.

       Bobby Blendow, Wolf Pack Hockey Club coach, teaches beginners how to fall before taking the ice during USA Hockey's annual Try Hockey For Free event at the Triphahn Center on Saturday in Hoffman Estates.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Seventy-five kids tried to play hockey for the first time Saturday during Try Hockey for Free in Hoffman Estates.

The 90-minute annual USA Hockey event was held on one of two ice rinks at Triphahn Center.

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The organizers separated the kids into two groups -- those who have skated and those who have not. Kids who have never skated where given traffic cones or folding chairs to use to brace themselves while learning to skate.

"Some of the smaller children just sit in the folding chairs as we push them around the ice rink to get them comfortable with the surroundings," said Mark Brunner, assistant hockey director at the Triphahn Center.

Before taking the ice, the group learned from Bobby Blendow, one of 25 Wolf Pack Hockey Club coaches, how to fall correctly while wearing skates on carpet.

The coaches and 10 players from the club helped the kids get accustomed to skating around the rink, said Nicole Witt, Triphahn Center scheduling coordinator. After learning to stay on their skates, kids shot tennis ball around the rink using plastic hockey sticks.

"We use tennis balls to start because it's safer -- less chance of getting hurt," said Wes Hogan of Bartlett, Wolf Pack Hockey Club organizer.

Parents lined the glass to take pictures and videos of their children. After over an hour of skating, Chase Pelz, 2, of Streamwood, decided it was hard work.

"I'm tired and worn out," he said.

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