The smaller ice surface plays a big part in the development of younger players
Skills honed in tight quarters on
smaller surfaces at Xtra Ice
By STEVE LEE
Editor, Florida Hockey Life
Unlike the other ve rinks in the Tampa ay area and beyond,
tra ce, tucked in a suburban neighborhood just
north of Tampa nternaonal Airport, is one of a kind. t’s
disncve design, new leadership and epanding programs are
paving the way for a bright future of recreaonal, instruconal
and compeve hockey.
“We are geng back to the basics,” said owner Mike enson,
who heads up a leadership team that took over this past summer.
“ur original model was providing ice me for individuals and
teams that would normally not be able to secure ice me in the
enson noted that nancial sponsor Power-Pole, which
manufactures shallow water anchoring systems for small boats,
has been instrumental in helping to revive the rink and its
“They’ve been a huge contributor and really helped with the
transion to new ownership,” said enson, a longme hockey
player from Detroit who has been in Florida for nine years.
tra ce is hardly a standard rink. While ice sheets in randon,
ldsmar, learwater, Wesley hapel and Ellenton in Manatee
ounty basically adhere to the tradional measurements of 200-
by-8 feet, the rink at 6910 Asphalt Ave. in Tampa is nocably
smaller by comparison. The 140-by-6 sheet of ice is housed in a
1,000-suare-foot facility that includes an adjacent gym as well
as four locker rooms and an epanded concession area.
The reducon in sie helps promote more interacon,
providing ample opportunies for young players to harness their
skill levels. Less space to skate, reason organiers and coaches
alike, leads to kids working on their game in ght uarters.
“t forces hockey players to engage,” enson noted.
“ecause of the smaller surface of the rink there are more puck
touches. This kind of environment forces you to make decisions
uicker. t speeds up the play and it makes for a faster-paced
Hugo elanger, a anadian who in a 1-season minor league
career won si most valuable player awards and ranks as the
h-leading career scorer 18 goals-94 assists-1,46 points,
concurs. The 4-year-old has run clinics at that rink since its
incepon in 2012.
“eing on a small rink just gives them a chance to be around
the puck more,” said elanger, who also played four seasons of
major league roller hockey. “t’s great for kids to play in close
uarters and learn how to bale.”