Olympics lure more kids to the ice

LAKE WORTH, FL - It wasn't quite the "Miracle on Ice," but could the U.S. Olympic hockey team's win over Canada Sunday bring more youngsters into the sport?

At the Palm Beach Skate Zone in Lake Worth 7 year-old Sean Hartman and 8 year-old Adam Herbst were in their pads, skating up and down the ice. Both of them watched the game Sunday.

Adam said he was impressed by all "the shooting and the skating." Sean said, "I think it was a good game. (Brian) Rafalski scored two goals and he plays for the Detroit Red Wings which is my favorite ice hockey team."

The boys were actually in the minority during Monday's open skate. There were a handful of advanced skaters on one rink, while on the second rink, a class was preparing for a lesson.

The Skate Zone is trying to take advantage of the Olympics by starting up a "Train with Us" program. It's a 4-week introduction to the world on ice.

Jennifer Kane with the Skate Zone said these days there are about 300 kids in their various programs.

During the Turin Olympics in 2006, they had 500. Kane said, it's "a four year cycle where around the Olympics there's all the hype because the kids see it on TV."

Skating Director Dolly Duke-Maggio, who once competed at the 'Worlds,' is teaching the youngsters. She said she's doing it because, "I like the sport and I like to see the kids come in and see how quickly and rapidly the kids progress. It gives me great joy."