Kids Ages 4-10 Can Learn Ice Hockey With the Columbus Blue Jackets

The NHL team has expanded its Learn to Play program to bring the sport to more children, with an assist from former CBJ player Andrew Cassels.

Tom Hanks
Children ages 4-10 can try ice hockey through the Columbus Blue Jackets Learn to Play program.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have expanded their Learn to Play program to a year-round effort serving kids of all skill levels.

Introduced in 2017, the program teaches ice hockey to children ages 4-10. It is part of a leaguewide effort by the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association to make the sport available to a wider audience.

Participants can sign up for three different sessions, which teach basic and advanced hockey skating as well as hockey fundamentals. Each eight-week session, held at OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks, is $200. In prior years, students had to know how to skate to participate in the program. Instructional efforts will be led by former Blue Jacket Andrew Cassels, who played for Columbus from 2002-04.

“Previously, the program was only offered in the spring and summer months, and as part of the team’s commitment to grow hockey by removing barriers to the sport, we’ve expanded it to a year-round offering,” says Andee Boiman, senior director of fan development and community programs for the team.

Thanks in part to corporate sponsors, equipment is free for first-time participants—including a helmet, pads, hockey pants, shin guards and a jersey, among other hockey paraphernalia—saving parents about $600.

According to the team, more than 1,280 children have participated in Learn to Play since it began.

The Blue Jackets also offer GOAL (Get Out and Learn), a one-day program launched in 2018 to introduce kids ages 5-9 to hockey.

Find out more about Learn to Play and register at thechiller.com/classes/hockey.cfm.

A shorter version of this story appears in “Parent Pulse” in the Winter 2021 issue of Columbus Parent.