History of the Staten Island Ice Hockey Association
In 1976 a group of Ice Hockey enthusiast wished to promote youth hockey on Staten Island and formed the Staten Island Ice Hockey League. They began by selecting high school age students from Tottenville, New Dorp, Wagner and Port Richmond and named the teams the Pirates, Centrals, Falcons, and Redmen. That season they played an eight game schedule at the New Shrewsbury ice skating rink in New Jersey. The original program was named the High School Varsity Program. The following year, school parent associations were formed from each school and skaters were identified with that school. A clinic program, called the Junior Varsity Program, was instituted for non-skating high and junior high school students. The clinic program was formed by pooling students from all the schools. In addition the Varsity program was increased to seven teams when the St. Peters (Eagles), Farrell (Lions) and McKee (Sea Gulls) were added and an eighteen game schedule was played. In 1978, a 501 (c) (3) Corporation was formed and the organization was named it the “Staten Island Ice Hockey Association.”
In the early 80’s the league added Men and Youth Programs to the Association. They expanded to over seventy teams ranging in age and ability from 4 year old to 70 year olds. However, logistical problems became a nightmare, having no rink on Staten Island, all the games and practices were scheduled off Staten Island at times and days not conducive to school age students.
In 1982, the Staten Island Ice Hockey Association underwent its first re-organization. Many of its founders formed “the Staten Island Athletic and Recreational Alliance” and secured more than $400,000 in funds from the War Memorial Association to build an Ice Rink. At the same time, then Congressman Guy Molinari was able to obtain a 30,000 square foot parcel of land next to two existing airplane hangers at Miller Field in New Dorp to construct the Rink. The rink was built and enclosed in a bubble.
In the middle of the 1985 - 1986 season a hurricane destroyed the bubble and the rink was moved inside one of the hangers as a temporary measure. A steel building was purchased and constructed the following year. That summer, the New York City Sanitation Department request and was granted permission to store recyclable receptacles at the location during the summer months while we waited for the delivery of the ice making compressors. Vandals set the containers on fire and the new structure was burnt to the ground. As luck would have it and unknown to us, our insurance policy had expired fifteen days prior to the fire. The Federal Government demanded that the site be cleaned up immediately and we had run out of money and were forced to give up our lease in order to avoid penalties. At the same time, New York City funded modifications to both the Abe Stark Arena, in Brooklyn and the Staten Island War Memorial Ice Skating Rink.
In 1989, in order to downsize, we underwent our second reorganization and the New York Ice Hockey Association was instituted to continue our High School program at those venues. The Staten Island Ice Hockey Association retained its Youth & Clinic Programs and went back to New Jersey. The Staten Island Skating Pavilion was opened in the late 90’s and we returned to Staten Island. We transferred our traveling youth programs to that rink and continued our Clinic Programs, as seen today, teaching both skating and hockey and feeding youths into the other programs.
Now, The Staten Island Ice Hockey Association, Inc (SIIHA) provides a structured ice hockey clinic program during the winter and spring months (September thru June).
Since 1976 the SIIHA has been providing ice-skating and Ice Hockey Instruction to over 25,000 youths of Staten Island by providing after school programs in the form of Clinics, games, and transportation to all parts of the metropolitan area. Various Youth Ice Skating and Ice Hockey programs are operated by the SIIHA.
The target population of this program are those Staten Island children who enroll and have been previously denied the opportunity to learn how to ice skate and participate in Ice Hockey activities due to a lack of qualified instruction, economics, or have been excluded from participating in other area programs due to restrictive residency requirements of other communities.
We make this highly specialized training and instruction available to 100 Youths, male and female, between the ages of 5 and 17 of various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds in the county of Richmond. See N.Y.C. Demographic population for Borough of Staten Island.
In the past and prior to City Council funding, many "ice hockey and skating aspirants" (youths) on Staten Island were forced to travel great distances off the Island to other States (N.J. & Conn.) and other N.Y. distant counties (Nassau, Suffolk, Etc) in order to obtain this type of highly specialized training and instruction.
The goal of our program is to help reduce the difficulty of travel for a Staten Island youth in order to be exposed to this specialized training and instruction while at the same time gaining exposure to ice skating and the sport of ice hockey in a safe, controlled, and healthful environment.
The expected outcome of the program is to increase the opportunity for Staten Island Youths to participate in a structured programs, which will result in these 100 youths becoming familiar with a disciplined learning experience that enhance their knowledge, skills, and will motivate them to pursue a lifestyle free of delinquency and drugs.
Ice-skating and ice hockey are recreational activities not presently enjoyed by many of Staten Island's youths. This SIIHA program provides a comprehensive recreational and instructional forum featuring skating and game techniques, proper care and use of equipment, peer relationships through teamwork, and exposure to the rules and regulations of the sport.
Flyers, Friends of participants, recruitment drives at local recreational centers, SI Community Boards, School Bulletin Boards, Local Newspapers and TV are all forms of our recruitment methods.
Youths 5 to 17 years of age participate in all phases of the program. They are broken down into skills groups, advancing as their skills progress.
Our Clinic is divided into three distinct Phases.
Phase 1. The SKATING CLINIC. This Phase of instruction emphasizes hockey ice skating techniques. Progress in ice hockey depends on developing and improving skating abilities. Our instruction emphasizes posture, balance, agility, power skating and endurance;
Phase 2. The STICK CLINIC. Hockey fundamentals and equipment use. Our instruction emphasizes the individual skills required for puck handling, passing, and shooting; and
Phase 3. The GAME CLINIC. Peer relationship through rules of order and team play are fostered during game situations. Team concepts, strategy, and positional play are emphasized. A more advanced game competition against other area youths is sometimes offered to those youths who can perform at a higher level of competence or are between the ages of 14-17 on a limited basis.
Our primary program site is the SI Skating Pavilion, located at 3080 Arthur Kill Road, Staten Island, NY10309, on the South Shore in the Charleston section of Staten Island. It is an indoor facility and is not subject to weather.
Administrators, training supervisors and instructors are volunteers and have a minimum of 3 years experience with our organization. Many are trained and have been certified by USA Hockey. New instructors are required to assist certified instructors for one season.
Instructors monitor the progress of each participant on a weekly basis. As skills increase advanced training and instruction result. Program accomplishments are highlighted in a graphic format. In addition, we undertake a yearly survey conducted to evaluate our success in reaching program objectives. Directors do an internal evaluation through an established questionnaire to determine if all SIIHA objectives have been addressed in the stated problem areas.
History indicates children who benefited by SIIHA Programs improved physical fitness and skills, improve peer relationships through teamwork and to learn the rules and regulations of the activities being provided. High School age students remained in School to graduation. Many went on to college and professional careers. School and league records indicate this conclusion.