MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – While it may seem like it, not everyone in Minnesota is born with skates on their feet. On Saturday, 40 hockey clubs across the state held an open skate for the smallest of skaters.

Melissa Burkes brought her children to the Victory Memorial Ice Arena in north Minneapolis to get her kids acquainted with a surface she was very familiar with as a child.

“I grew up with five brothers. We grew up across the street from a park and a rink, and we were all skaters,” Burkes said.

For now, her children are learning that half the fun of falling down is trying to get back up.

“He’s learning. He’s pushing around a couple things out there, trying to get the hang of it,” she said.

The point of Try Hockey For Free Day is to introduce the sport to the next generation.

“I love the City of Lakes program. Our other child is 7 years old and he’s been in it since he was 4,” she said.

Kim Hennings of Minneapolis said the event is a great way to see if her son will take to the ice.

“Mackenzie’s first time on the ice ever. We wanted to see if he’d even like it,” Hennings said.

With fans unable to watch their favorite NHL stars this winter, they’ll still have moment of glory cheer for.

“I’m going to watch my child, how about that?” she said.

While they’re not in season, the Wild coaches hit the ice, helping fit helmets and teaching techniques.

Amy Woog-Patnode of the Minnesota Wild Foundation says this is a crucial opportunity to get kids into the game.

“We’re here to support the State of Hockey, and do anything we can for youth hockey and to grow the game,” Woog-Patnode said.

It’s an introduction to hockey they hope kids will stick with.

“It’s Minnesota. We love hockey, right?” Hennings said.

The Wild are part of an equipment grant program. They donated about 30 sets of equipment to the City of Lakes Youth Hockey Association.


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