The Association, part of the Town of Andover but privately funded by parents, has programs to help kids develop skills in the popular winter sport as well as compete.
Two new programs, specializing in skills for beginners, offer differing levels of play.
- The Gold program is for kids learning to skate. That program, which runs Saturdays and Sundays, starts up for the year on Oct. 26 and runs until mid-March. The program is very basic, with kids starting out with milk crate stacks to keep them from falling.
- The Blue program is a learn-to-play program. That, too, will run Saturdays and Sundays. After some practice, the ice is split for smaller 4-on-4 games.
"This will be my kids' third year," Anthony Pizzimenti of North Andover, Director for the Blue Initiation whose son and daughter both play in the AHA. "I play [for a North Andover morning league] so a lot of the guys I play coach here, and I kind of got involved that way."
So far, the these programs have have about 40 kids signed up, Pizzimenti said, and they are hoping for more. Last year, there were about 60 kids.
Home base for the organization is Philips Academy, home to
"It's pretty busy rink," Pizzimenti said. "Andover has over 45 teams. Most of them are Andover residents, with a small handful from North Andover, North Reading and other nearby towns."
Here are some other programs the Andover Hockey Association offers:
AHA also has a program focusing on goalie skills, run by Stop-It-Goaltending's training facility in Woburn.