You don’t have to look far to find opportunities in our area to play ice hockey. Teens have many ways to learn the game: at school or on amateur teams, or just for fun at several local ice rinks in public parks.
In fact, according to a study conducted by SmartAsset, Ann Arbor ranks sixth in the nation for best place to live for ice hockey enthusiasts. To determine the rankings for best hockey towns, the study included factors such as quality of life, affordable housing and recreational opportunities. When the Michigan Wolverines play, fans often fill the college hockey arena almost to capacity (97%). This translates to a town that supports the sport.
Opportunities for youth hockey
Assistant Coach Brian Wiseman is one of the instructors at the youth hockey camps at the University of Michigan’s Yost Ice Arena. Throughout the summer, kids aged 10-18 can participate in one of the week-long camps to improve their skills. Grouped by ages, instruction is provided by several UM coaches, offering a great local resource for Ann Arbor area tweens and teens.
While Wiseman oversees the summer camps for all skill levels, he also seeks out skilled players from across the nation for the University of Michigan’s college hockey team. One recruit from Ann Arbor’s own Skyline High School, Andrew Copp, now plays professional hockey for the Winnipeg Jets.
Wiseman found Copp when he was playing football at Skyline, where he recognized his strong leadership and athleticism. Wiseman notes that when recruiting skilled athletes he looks for strong performance both athletically and academically; individuals with strong character, leadership qualities and team ethic.
Training for the big leagues
Ann Arbor cultivates athletes with its history of youth hockey programs. The Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association encourages players of all skill levels to participate in the game, and kids of all ages can improve their skills at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.
Historically, the Ann Arbor Ice Cube that hosted national youth hockey tournaments for more than fifteen years. This role has since shifted to the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth; formerly known as the Compuware Arena, where you will now find advanced skills training programs, national tournaments and young athletes who have decided to pursue hockey as a professional sport. There are players who train for the Olympics and others who plan to try out for the National Hockey League. Teens, ages 14-17, can register for training camps that focus on developing hockey skills and fundamentals.
With all these local pathways to become a skilled hockey player and maybe even join the pros, it is no wonder Ann Arbor is ranked as a hockey town of choice!