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 The Grass Roots of NIHA

The roots of our Association date back to 1989. The Newark Public Ice Rink opened in December, 1989. Ice hockey began in December, 1991. Ten adults and ten children played on Saturday mornings.

December, 1992, ice hockey clinics began for local youths on Saturday mornings with about 20 children. Adults continued to play pick up hockey with 10-15 adults participating.

During the 1993-1994 season, the youth players joined the Police Athletic League (PAL). Financial help came from the State of Ohio PAL to purchase helmets. The enrollment grew to approximately 60 children along with help from 12 adults. This was basically a learn to skate/play format. Adult hockey continued active.

In 1994-1995, the City of Newark enclosed the ice rink and membership grew to 96 children ranging in ages 5 to 18. We continued as PAL. The Evans Foundation financed goalie equipment. We began playing games against Athens, OH. Games were on Saturdays and Sundays and we began practicing on Monday and Tuesday evenings. The format changed from a learn to skate/play format to team play. The adult hockey continued. The adult league (approx. 20 adults) moved from Saturdays to Tuesday nights leaving Saturdays available for the children.

The 1995-1996 season was the formation of NIHA, filed as a USA Hockey Association in the Mid-American District. The membership grew to approximately 120. We began playing teams from CAHA and CCYHA. Adult hockey increased to Tuesday and Thursday evenings with 20-25 participating.

The 1996-1997 season brought membership up to 160 (boys and girls) ages 4 to 18. We began the USA Hockey "Learn to Skate" program. All-Star teams were formed and traveled to Buffalo New York, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Athens and Detroit. The youth hockey players in Newark began performing at a competitive level.

In the 1997-1998 season, NIHA grew to 187 players. NIHA joined the Buckeye Travel Hockey League with two teams-Bantam A team and Midget A team. The Initiation Program continued with 28 players. Our house teams joined the Greater Columbus Youth Hockey League that culminated with a year-end tournament hosted by Newark..

1998-2004 The league continues to grow with increases in all the groups of 9 and up. IP continues to draw a respectable crowd, but the combination of learn to skate and hockey initiation is showing signs of faultering. Plans to separate the programs should remove some stigmas associated with combined programs, yet inhance our abilities to provide a better learn to skate program with the eventual step up to our hockey initiation program.

2004 - Plans for this coming year include separating our IP program into learn to skate and then Hockey initiation. We are also looking forward into getting back into the Buckeye travel league at the Bantam level.

2004 - Present  If you can please submit information to