Friday, April 19, 2024

Yorktown’s Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex Offers Something for Everyone

Adult hockey at Chilled Ponds Yorktown. (Chilled Ponds Yorktown)

YORKTOWN — Whether you are looking to learn to figure skate or have always wanted to try your hand at hockey, Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex offers something for everyone.

Chilled Ponds has two Hampton Roads locations. The original is located in Chesapeake where its sister rink is located in Yorktown. Both complexes boast two NHL-size rinks and offer hockey, figure skating, birthday parties, public skating sessions, and more. There is also the WhaleTale Grill and Bon Secours InMotion Physical Therapy & Sports Performance Center.

Chilled Ponds is also the official training home of Norfolk Admirals hockey.

One of its popular programs is the adult hockey league, which gives interested players who are too old for the school-age programs a chance to lace up and learn the skills it takes to be a hockey player.

The PAH Cup winners in 2022. (Chilled Ponds Yorktown)

Elizabeth Varva, a Chilled Ponds Yorktown employee, participates in the program.

“I am not a natural athlete, and did not grow up ice skating, so it was intimidating to jump in and start these things in my late thirties. Seven years later, I’m still not a great player, but I am proud of how far I’ve come and amazed at the opportunities hockey has given me and the people it’s introduced me to. Playing hockey is my time for me. It’s really my happy space,” Varva said.

The Ponds Adult Hockey (PAH) league provides recreational hockey teams for individuals 18 years of age and older. Leagues range in skill level from beginner to experienced. Yorktown often plays the PAH teams in Chesapeake.

John Smith, the PAH Yorktown League Director, oversees the adult hockey program at the rink.

“We do cater to the adult that says, ‘I don’t want to be the only adult out there with kids, I’m going to feel stupid, I’m going to feel weird,’ that’s not what this is about. If you are out there and you’re an adult, you are with other adults who are on the same level. You are all learning together and you build that camaraderie together that you can take on to the league,” Smith said.

The PAH league is non-competitive. According to Varva, it’s all about having fun and doing something new as an adult.

“I speak to people on a daily basis about jumping into our programs for adults, and I play with a lot of the folks who started right where I did. They all say the same things, ‘I wish I had not quit as a kid’ or ‘I wish I had not waited so long to try this,'” Varva said.

PAH league play kicks off in September each year. Teams are made up of 14-20 players who take part in 5-on-5 games. Players compete against each other in three 17-minute running clock periods. Full hockey equipment is required to play. Teams are divided up into the Legend, National, and American leagues.

Chilled Ponds Yorktown’s adult hockey program includes beginners and advanced hockey players. (Chilled Ponds Yorktown)

For those who don’t know much about the sport, Chilled Ponds also offers a learn-to-play program for adults. Skills taught include stick handling, puck handling, passing, shooting, and positional play. The adult developmental league kicks off in March on Thursday nights. More information can be found here.

Smith often sees the benefits of those who join the adult program both on and off the ice.

“I like giving people the joy of hockey, where we’re teaching them something and they get it and it clicks. It’s so much fun to watch people glow when they have those moments of finally getting a shot or a trick or a pass after working so hard to achieve it. As an adult, you can be so stuck in the grind that finally doing something or achieving something you’ve worked so hard for can be that little spark of recognition and really make you feel good about yourself,” Smith said.

For more information on all the things that Chilled Ponds offers, visit

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