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Junior IceHogs Training Facility opens on Madison Street

September 2, 2009

Officials from the Rockford Park District, the Rockford IceHogs and the Rockford Iceman cut the ribbon on a new 5,800-square-foot hockey training center Saturday, Aug. 29. (Photo by Doug Halberstadt)

Officials from the Rockford Park District, the Rockford IceHogs and the Rockford Iceman cut the ribbon on a new 5,800-square-foot hockey training center Saturday, Aug. 29. (Photo by Doug Halberstadt)

By Doug Halberstadt

Sports Columnist

Local hockey players of all ages, and all skill levels, have a brand-new training facility to hone their skills. Officials from the Rockford Park District, the Rockford IceHogs and the Rockford Icemen cut the ribbon on a new, 5,800-square-foot hockey training center Saturday, Aug. 29.

The Junior IceHogs Training Facility is now open at 312 N. Madison St. in Rockford. The building features workout equipment including free weights, treadmills, elliptical machines and a variety of other exercise equipment. An exercise zone and a specific area for aspiring hockey stars to work on their shooting and passing are also included.

The gem of the facility is the RapidShot Hockey Training System. It is one of only two in the state and only about 70 in the entire world. The RapidShot is a patented, state-of-the-art, interactive computer system that helps improve hockey shooting by requiring the shooter to receive real puck passes and shoot over a series of 16 shots. Each shooting lane is equipped with a bar code reader, and when a card is swiped through the reader, the RapidShot computer is activated. Participants can select various levels and have their reaction time, shot speed and accuracy measured by the computer.

The best way I can describe the RapidShot System is that it’s similar to an automated batting cage, but instead built for hockey players. The machine passes pucks to the participants, and then they must shoot them at a certain area of the goal. It can be programmed for different speeds and skill levels.

Following their workout, participants can access the Web site www.rapidshot.com and get a report that summarizes their performance and view their rankings against other users across the world.

A variety of classes will be offered at the off-ice facility for both children and adults. The fall sessions begin as early as Sept. 11, and include everything from the ultimate hockey training classes to the more elementary shooting and stick-handling classes. Parents who take their youngsters to use the facility can take advantage of a waiting area that features free Wi-Fi.

“Our Junior IceHogs skating program has increased from 1,689 participants in 1999 to 5,820 in 2008,” said Deputy Director of Operations Jay Sandine. “This off-ice training facility will not only help advance players’ skill development, it also will provide an additional revenue source for the Park District.”

For more information about the new facility or any of the classes offered, call the Park District’s customer service line at (815) 987-8800.

From the September 2-8, 2009 issue

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