A sportswriter in search of something to write about Sunday morning, this being the depths of winter, stopped off first at the Buckskill Winter Club where Joanne Doran, the manager and figure skating director, told him of a number of new offerings there, after which he swung by Sportime’s Arena in Amagansett for a talk with its manager, Mike Ritsi, Tyler Jarvis, and Bob Nicholson, whose 9-year-old son, Brett, plays on four traveling roller hockey teams, including a 17-and-under squad.
Doran, whose sons, Chris and Matt, are avid ice hockey players, said figure skating has been taking off at Buckskill, and that there has been increased interest in the ice hockey program — whose goal is to form a South Fork high school team — too.
Doran oversees a structured U.S. Figure Skating curriculum (including evaluation and testing) that spans preschool “Snowplow Sams” and teenaged “Ice Stars,” advanced figure skaters. Basic figure skating lessons are also given to adults, said Doran, who’s been a U.S. Figure Skating instructor for 23 years.
The Snowplow Sam classes, “for kids who don’t know how to skate,” had been “extremely popular,” she said. “We’ve got at least 25. They learn how to fall, how to recover, edging, stroking, balance. . . . We have tons of local people now, from Southampton and Sag Harbor to Springs and Montauk.”
There is a basic skills program, under Tim Luzadre, in ice hockey, as well, which introduces kids to the fundamental moves, including forward skating, backward skating, stops, edges, crossovers, and turns.
Adding the Ice Stars clinics, designed to improve skills, using the entire ice rink surface, had been her idea, said Doran, who added that she hoped she could have a figure skating club at Buckskill in the near future.
“The kids are enthusiastic. We’re giving an exhibition on March 10 at 1 p.m. We’ll be doing a lot of numbers, and four or five girls will be doing solos. We’ll have a mystery guest too,” she said with a smile. “Somebody in costume . . . a character.”
In all, it had been “a great season [the rink is to close March 17] for figure skaters, and for hockey too.”
At Sportime’s Multi-Sport Arena, it was learned that the adult men’s and women’s futsal soccer leagues are to have their finals Saturday, beginning with the women’s consolation game at 5 p.m. and ending with the men’s final at 10.
Men’s semifinal games are to be played tomorrow between La Calle and Virgen del Milagro at 7 p.m., and between Scorpion and Liga del Milagro at 8.
The Blackhawks (Jarvis’s team) lead the adult roller hockey league with a 7-2-0 record, followed by Wild, at 6-2-0, the Rangers, at 4-3-0, the Kings, at 3-5-0, and the Predators, at 1-5-0.
Jarvis, a 23-year-old who’s overseeing Sportime’s youth hockey program — he said he couldn’t imagine having a better job — leads the adult league’s individual standings with 31 goals and 18 assists, followed by Wild’s Matt Brierley (19 and 7), the Blackhawks’ James Keogh (7 and 14), the Kings’ Brian Rubenstein (8 and 11), the Rangers’ Dan Rodriguez (13 and 4), and the Blackhawks’ Mike Murphy (12 and 5).
Kyle Mannix of the Wild leads the goalies with an .878 percent save average.
The three youth hockey teams seem to be well matched. As of this week, the Predators led, with a 4-2-0 record; the Devils were 4-3-0, and the Kings were 4-4-0.
The Kings’ Robby Nicholson (23 goals and 2 assists), the Devils’ Matt Kreymborg (15 and 3), and the Predators’ Hunter Mangano (10 and 6) are the leading scorers.
Ritsi and Jarvis, when asked why there had been a fall-off in youth hockey — the elder Nicholson said he remembered the days about 15 years ago when there were 300 enrolled in the program — cited the many options that existed today, though Robby and Brett’s father traced it chiefly to a decline here of the middle class. The bad economy had forced working people to sell and to move to less expensive places, he said, and they weren’t being replaced.