CHA tries building hockey in Columbus, one young player at a tim -, GA News Weather & Sports

CHA tries building hockey in Columbus, one young player at a time

(Source: Dave Platta/WTVM) (Source: Dave Platta/WTVM)

The Columbus Cottonmouths are history and the Columbus Burn looks likes they got snuffed out before the flame was even kindled properly.

So what about the future of hockey here?

The answer from the Columbus Hockey Association is long-term thinking -- start 'em young and go from there.

The CHA held its first Learn Hockey for Free session at the Columbus Ice Rink on Saturday morning, dealing with the learning curve and getting kids interested in the sport.

Hockey is not naturally one of the sports associated with an area where ice is for putting in your sweet tea, but CHA board member Jerome Bechard says hockey is a pretty sweet idea.

"Most parents don't think hockey in the South is a great sport for them, but with it being so hot and humid outside all the time, this is the greatest place to be." Bechard said. "The kids learn life lessons with how to deal with other kids, how to get coached, a little discipline, and then have fun pushing that puck around."

Seeing jerseys with the names Hergott and Vigier seem natural around here. You've just been used to seeing their dads play for the Cottonmouths.

Former Snakes goalie Ian Vigier is still getting used to the role of hockey dad for son Paxton.

"He's five years old now, and he'll be six in January," said Vigier. "But it's definitely a different feeling out here. More nerves watching as a fan and as a parent than as a player, for sure." 

Of course, you don't have to be a former pro hockey player to get into the act and enjoy every minute of it.

"Hey, two feet. Bend your knees, you hear? Bend your knees. All right, go back to practice. Bend your knees," Josiah Scandle told his young son.

"He loves it. We've been talking about it all week, his first practice being on Saturday. So he's been excited. Every morning he's asking, 'Do I have hockey tomorrow? Do I have hockey tomorrow?'"

Some of the kids have lots of experience and skate rings around the others. Some have been out there before but still a little shaky.

And then there are the first timers. You can tell who they are, but they're loving it, spills and all as they learn the skills to play hockey.

Seven-year-old Asher Johnson explained what he has to do. "Don't get mad. It's not because of the ice, it's because of you. You gotta focus and you gotta do this and a lot of stuff to get learned how to do it. And I think I'm good at learning so now I can play hockey."

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