VP Building - Quality Buildings for Recreation
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Feature Article - July/August 2006

Adults on Ice

Grow your programming by appealing to grownups

By Stacy St. Clair



Take a quick survey of your ice arena. Lots of kids whipping around the rink, right? Lots of activity, rentals and revenue happening, too.

Good. You're obviously doing something right. But you can—and should—be doing more.

For every kid who laces up a pair of skates, there's a parent who brought him or her to the rink. The majority of the time, those moms and dads just sit in the stands while their children hit the ice.

Truly successful rinks engage these parents (and grandparents), encouraging them to become active participants in the arenas' programs instead of passive bystanders living vicariously through their student athletes.

Some of the most successful North American rinks do this by offering a variety of programming that appeals to adults. They offer more than just ample public skate times. They have organized adult hockey leagues, provided adult learn-to-skate classes, and experimented with curling and speedskating programs.

Rinks that lure adults onto the ice with creative programming reap the rewards.

The people who traditionally spend time in the bleachers now are spending money on the ice as well.

"When it comes to adult learn-to-play programs, use them as your greatest resource," says Ashley Bevan of USA Hockey. "Learn-to-play programs are huge. That is the way to grow your business. It is all about getting a customer and retaining them."

And given the fact that the United States just came off its most successful Winter Olympics on foreign soil, there's no better time to test the frozen waters.

We'll help glide you through four sports—figure skating, curling, hockey and speedskating—that can help boost your adult patronage and keep your rink bustling.

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