As far as Jon Flenniken knows, no one in Clear Creek County has ever hosted an official hockey event until Jan. 10.
Flenniken, a longtime recreational hockey player, has partnered with the Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District to host a youth hockey skills camp at Georgetown’s Werlin Park.
The camp is Mondays and Wednesdays through Feb. 16. Flenniken and CCMRD staff said they might host a second camp afterward, depending on scheduling and weather.
Flenniken, who grew up in the county, recalled playing pond hockey on private property in the Mill Creek area. For organized hockey competitions, Flenniken and his friends had to go to Evergreen Lake or down to the Denver area.
“That’s about all we had when I was a kid,” he said.
Now that hockey is officially in Clear Creek, Flenniken hopes it stays. His long-term goal is to have league play with more rinks and teams. The first step toward that, he said, might be floor hockey this spring at the rec center.
“I have always loved watching (hockey) and playing it,” Flenniken said. “ … I like that it’s consistently fast-paced.”
During the camp’s first session on Jan. 10, Flenniken said he wanted the children to learn about hockey in a safe environment. At Werlin Park, there’s no fear of anyone falling through the ice, unlike the ponds and lakes he grew up playing on.
“I want them to increase their skills and learn more about the game, so they can keep playing it,” he continued.
Throughout the one-hour session, the young hockey enthusiasts worked on their skating, passing, and puck-handling skills, among other things.
Georgetown’s Sage and Arwen Gibbons, 11 and 8, respectively, described how they’ve learned about hockey from their dad, who plays goalie for a Breckenridge team.
Both Sage and Arwen said they wanted to improve their hockey skills at the camp. Arwen’s hoping to become a goalie like their dad. Sage was open to playing either goalie or offense, saying he’s pretty good at both.
“I like the feeling of being on the ice, gliding around,” Sage said, adding that watching “The Mighty Ducks” trilogy inspired him to pursue hockey more seriously.
Silver Plume’s Chris Cowan was watching his 8-year-old daughter, Tate, try her hand at hockey. The Cowans aren’t necessarily big hockey fans, he said, but thought Tate would enjoy learning to skate better and interact with her friends at the camp.
Along with being a gateway event for Clear Creek’s hockey fans, the camp was the first in a partnership between CCMRD and Georgetown.
Samantha Dhyne, CCMRD’s director of marketing and events, said the rec district plans to host more events in Georgetown. It’s collaborating with town officials to host “Winterfest: A Night of Fire and Ice” on Feb. 12, and Dhyne said CCMRD will host a broomball tournament in Georgetown in late February.
For more information on the youth hockey skills camp or upcoming events, visit clearcreekrecreation.com.