Baywest Ice Rink launches ice hockey programme

2015-08-05 06:00
andlt;?Brothers Kent (7) and Kyran Fulton (9) (front left and right), are ready to join the Eastern Cape’s first ice hockey academy at Baywest Mall. With them are Melinda Lightley (left), who heads the academy at Baywest, and Christopher Dodd (right)

andlt;?Brothers Kent (7) and Kyran Fulton (9) (front left and right), are ready to join the Eastern Cape’s first ice hockey academy at Baywest Mall. With them are Melinda Lightley (left), who heads the academy at Baywest, and Christopher Dodd (right)

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IN a first for the province, The Ice Rink at the Baywest Mall launched a training academy and ice hockey programme last week.

On Saturday, August 1, the Ice Rink at Baywest Mall began its eight-week training academy aimed at helping skating novices – children or adults – get to grips with the ice, while at the same time scouting for skating talent in the region.

“Many skaters haven’t been on the ice for long, so the academy is going to help them with their confidence on the ice,” said The Ice Rink at Baywest manager, Siya Ntsele. The Ice Rink manages the majority of South Africa’s ice rinks, and has successfully initiated skating academies at their operations in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

“The academies have been very popular, both for parents and for kids. The academy also gives skaters the platform to choose which avenue to pursue – be it ice hockey, or figure skating.”

According to former figure skater Melinda Lightley, manager and one of the coaches at the Baywest ice rink academy, the new rink was perfect for new skaters to learn the ropes.

“Everybody who wants to skate should join the academy, to learn the basics of skating, as well as how to be safe on the ice,” said Lightley. “We are starting from four-year-olds to adults.

“Once they have completed the eight-week course, they can decide if they want to take things further in terms of figure skating or ice hockey.

“Our intention is to nurture talented skaters in the region and help them grow,” she said.

The launch of the academy coincides with the revival of the Eastern Cape’s ice hockey programme, although coordinator Christopher Dodd – who represents the Eastern Province Ice Hockey Association – said the first task was to get participants to enjoy skating as a team, at a social level, before getting competitive.

The last time the Eastern Cape boasted a provincial ice hockey team was in the mid-1990s, of which Dodd was a member.

“I want ice hockey to start anew and to be fun. Our main focus is on kids, aged six-years-old and up, as they are the future of this wonderful sport. We have 13 kids so far, almost 40 women and about 100 men.”

Practice sessions are due to run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sunday mornings, although the times could change, said Dodd.

“By the end of this year I would like our teams to be fully kitted, playing social games. Next year we’ll look at separating teams into social leagues and competitive leagues,” Dodd said.

“We’re 20 years behind the rest of South Africa, but the Eastern Cape has phenomenal hockey players and given some time we could have very strong provincial ice hockey teams.”

• The cost for the eight-week skating academy is R600 for participants who own their own skates, and R700 for those without skates. For more information email or go to Ice hockey fans email

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