Bundled up in a camel coat, a rainbow scarf and a tan hat, Faatima Edmonds held open the gate to the ice.
“My baby’s pants are falling down!” she hollered across the ice to one of the coaches. The coach quickly skated across the ice to help Edmonds’ youngest son hike up his hockey pants.
This scene was inside the Laura Sims Skate House, located at 63rd and Walnut streets, where Edmonds’ two sons, Gemanael, 13, and Joshua, 6, have trained with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation for two months.
This ice rink in Cobbs Creek is now open year-round thanks to a renovation and completed in the fall of 2011, which replaced a chain-link fence enclosure with walls. Laura Sims is one of five city-owned rinks where the hockey foundation conducts programs and Sims have independent programming.
“Not everyone knows that the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation is here to help kids,” Tarasai Karega said. Karega is the hockey operations coordinator with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation at Laura Sims. “I’m trying to get the organization’s name on the tips of tongues all over the city.”
Karega oversees the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation staff of 15 full-time employees and more than 100 part-time employees and volunteers. This program serves boys and girls between the ages of 5 through 17. There are 200 students participating in the program in the at Laura Sims Skate House.
“It’s cool to work in a place where you can see the connection between sports and urban education,” Nora Cothren said.
Cothren, who the children at Sims calls “Coach Nora” is one of the educational support staff that tutors the young participants in difficult subjects and provide college prep classes. “I’ve always played sports and I always felt like sports helped me do better in school.”
The Ed Snider Foundation operates at Laura Sims on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. There are Saturday hours also between 11:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.. Each participating student gets to play at least three times a week, although many students spend every weeknight on the ice, Karega said.
Brothers Kyle and Maxwell Lapsley have enjoyed their participation in the Snider program at Sims. Kyle, 9, said he loves skating on the ice while Maxwell, 11, said he enjoyes the competition aspect of the program.
Laura Sims is open Monday through Saturday. Admission is free, although skate rentals are $3. Public skating is on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 p.m. through 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 3 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. with a half-hour break at 4:30 p.m. A professional ice skater offers skating lessons on Saturday mornings from 9:15 a.m. through 11:15 a.m.