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Learn to Skate / Beginning Hockey


All players must have a current USA Hockey number before registering for a KOHA program

Learn to Skate

Kalamazoo’s original and best Learn to Skate program is back with two sessions (one in the fall, one in the winter) before the end of the season. KOHA’s Learn to Skate program was designed and implemented by a Western Michigan University graduate student with a hockey and education background. Thousands of young people have learned to skate with KOHA. KOHA Learn to Skate is open to girls and boys ages 5 and up*, whether they have an interest in playing hockey or not.
*(Your skater should be turning 5 by Dec. 31st of the year in which they want to participate in our Learn To Skate. If you have a preschooler interested in learning to skate, please visit our partner, The Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association and check out their options for children ages 3-5.)

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT FOR LEARN TO SKATE: Skaters must have a helmet, skates, and winter gloves or mittens for Learn To Skate. Knee and elbow protection is strongly suggested.

What your child will learn: KOHA begins with teaching skaters how to stand up and fall down. Skaters are divided into groups of about 10, with an adult volunteer assisting KOHA’s program leader. Over the course of the one-hour sessions of the program, skaters will learn forward gliding and skating, backwards skating, hockey stops, left to right and right to left turns and front to back and back to front turns. Proper (efficient) skating technique is emphasized.


Session 1 begins Saturday October 15th and runs through Sunday, November 13th, 2022

5 weekends - 10 sessions on the ice - Saturday AND Sunday mornings (not one or the other).


COST: $115


Session 2 begins Saturday January 14th and runs through Saturday, March 4th, 2023

8 weekends - 8 sessions on the ice - Saturday mornings  ONLY


COST: $115


KOHA Beginning Hockey Program is the second part of a two-part program designed to teach your child the basic skills of ICE HOCKEY. In Beginning Hockey, your child can continue to improve upon skating skills and learn hockey basics.

This program generally follows the Learn to Skate Program and is recommended before entering our House League or Travel Hockey programs. Over 80 boys and girls annually participate in this program.

Why should your child participate? Skating is fun and easy; it improves balance, hand-to-eye coordination and strength. Skating compliments other sports, and is beneficial to girls and boys alike. The program is designed to allow children to develop skills and self-confidence at their own pace in an atmosphere of positive encouragement.

Pictured: Nick Bootland (Head Coach, K Wings) & Jeff Blashill (Head Coach, Detroit Red Wings) & their sons Photo courtesy: John Gilroy

Recommended to be five (5) years old by December 31, 2022; younger players may participate with advanced approval by the program director.

DATES FOR 2022-23: December 3rd - March 5th (Saturdays AND Sundays)

BOTH Saturdays and Sundays. One 60-minute session both days. Due to the size of our program in recent years and the limited ice availability, we have to limit our program to skaters 11 and younger. Older players are recommended to join House C.

(Beginning Hockey sessions/ice times will vary according to team assignments.)

Wings West (5076 Sports Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009) - just off of 9th Street in Oshtemo

COST: $455.00


Beginning Hockey:

Hockey skaters will need the following equipment by their first practice .

  • Certified hockey helmet
  • Shin guards (tape ones or Velcro strapped)
  • Elbow pads
  • Protective cup
  • Hockey skates
  • Hockey gloves
  • Shoulder pads
  • Garter belt or hockey shorts
  • Hockey pants
  • Hockey stick
  • Neck guard
  • Mouthguard

Note: KOHA has "One Goal" hockey equipment available for rent by Beginning Hockey players, depending on availability, first come first first serve. These sets of equipment exclude skates, a helmet and a stick. Please check with the office staff for more details.

Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association

The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA), established in 1965, is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide every boy and girl in southwest Michigan the opportunity to enjoy at excel at the game of hockey.

KOHA's vision is to be a regional destination and national leader for youth hockey. From Learn To Skate through high school-aged players, KOHA has programs for everyone! KOHA is proud to be one of USA Hockey's original Model Associations, and continues to forge new partnerships to provide our players with the best development opportunities.

The KOHA Office is located at Wings West Ice Arena

5076 Sports Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009