Friday, January 25, 2013


I don't know what rink started the genius idea of birthday parties at the rink. Brilliant! Money! Maker! Supply a cake costing $20, but charge $50, an empty room, and a coach that costs $20 a half hour and charge $50! Who thought this up! OMG! the money just rolls in!
Rink Manager  counting up the birthday party profits
Some weekends the birthday parties are so numerous that the rink has to stagger them so they can get the maximum profit out of each party room (on in the case of one rink, each party table).

I don't mind birthday parties on public. Let's face it, the kids are just adorable....
"Hello, I'm 5, and here's all my friends.
Where's my cake?"
It's up to the poor coach to herd the party together and get some teaching in. This forces the coach to being happy, smiling, sweet to the kids, but really all grumbly underneath. The coaches I've talked to do not like Birthday Parties. I see a lot of eye rolling, and frowns when coaches tell me about party coaching.
How the party skaters see the coach
What the coach is thinking!

But what I hate are party parents. You know who I mean. The adults who hang out in the gate, taking pictures. I can't get on the ice; I can't get off the ice. The parents are blocking the gate.

I don't blame them for wanting to take pictures, it's really very sweet. But they're just oblivious. There's 200 people getting off an on the ice and the parent just hangs there, pointing the camera desperately at their kid and yelling at them to 'Come over here!'

So in the spirit of being a good rink citizen, if they're that desperate for pictures I offer to take them for them. The parent will usually hand me their camera or phone, and I'll spent 4 minutes taking pictures of the party while I skate around. Give the phone back and miracle of miracles, the parent goes and sits down in the bleachers leaving the gate open.

And I build up karma points!

Guys with $800 cameras and no skating skills on the ice trying to take pictures of the party? I just let them alone.  I can never figure out expensive cameras, and I don't want to be the one to drop it! Let the guy who owns it catch a toepick and drop it.
Bummer about the camera man....
(Someday though, I want to rent the rink for a private party, invite all my skating buddies, then have some famous coach show up and give a group drinkies after!)


  1. On a good weekend our rink can have like 6 parties (2 party rooms). We also get a lot of scout troops who don't rent rooms but get a coach. I used to coach a lot of them, tells you what level coach they are getting! It was decent money for me from my LTS pay, but not worth it for those who regularly get $30 a half hour for privates (that's what we got- but it is a lot more work to do the group!)

  2. I usually avoid my rink on weekends (except Sunday morning freestyle). But I snorted out loud at the picture "bummer about the camera man."

  3. At our rink we get some relief from the kiddies when they go off-ice for their pizza. Worst part is when the rink management has one end of the rink "coned off" for the "lesson" part of parties. This compresses the rest of the crowd into a smaller than usual amount of the rink than--sort of like putting too many fish in a small aquarium. Most of the parents with camera lenses the size of howitzers will back away from the gate if you approach with a fair amount of speed and then T-stop just short of the gate. One woman who was focusing on something behind a big lens almost fell over backwards when I made my approach to the opening and suddenly filled her viewfinder!

  4. Now YOUR version sounds like a real party!

  5. I wanna go to YOUR skating party!

    For the pictures, I wish rinks would let parents would use the hockey boxes - they'd get an unobstructed view and be out of the way. (Around here, rinks only let people wearing skates into the hockey boxes.)

  6. I love your party idea! In fact, there are enough of us adult skaters who are within "roadtrip" distance of each other. We could each host a party at our rinks and make it a regional tour!

    1. Okay, what coach would you suggest?

      And what drinkies? ;-)

    2. I'm guessing the emergency scewdriver (the vodka one) that you occasionally hint at seeing in other skaters' bags.

      Mulled wine would be nice. Hot chocolate/coffee is always good and can easily be modified!

    3. Hmmmm...I have two coaches in mind - one Russian and one Ukrainian. I'm thinking vodka, straight up. Unless we skate in the morning, in which case, mimosas all around!

    4. Wait until I'm back on the ice, then PARTY ON!
      Or as they say in russian "получить партия началась"

    5. Mulled wine sounds perfect. Hot chocolate with options to add peppermint schnaps, Khalua, and other flavored liquors would be great.

      I would volunteer to bring a yummy mushroom-nut pate. :-)

  7. It is always fascinating to me the different practices of different rinks-ours does not have a coach or any type of lesson with the birthday party. You pay for the room, the pizza and the skate admission. You bring in your own cake. We did a skating party for my daughter's birthday last year but my daughter has a January birthday which seems to be the high season for skating birthday parties-I think the rink had 4-5 going on that day so it was really crowded and she was disappointed. In contrast, I've rarely seen signs of a July or August skate party there!

    1. All of the rinks I've skated at the coach is extra. It's a nice touch for the parents to get a coach and it makes the party a success. Food issues really vary. One rink you can't bring in your own cake, another says okay.
      I've been to an adult skating reunion and an adult skater birthday party. In both cases, we brought in our own food, sodas, everything. Half the people at both parties were coaches or regular skaters at that rink. I guess they cut us some slack (we still had to pay for the room). Of course maybe it helped that one of the skaters at one party was a former Gran Prix gold medalist!