When the Skatium Ice Arena opened in October 1973, 11-year-old Steve Glickman, who lived three blocks away, elbowed his way past a friend to the front of the line and was the first skater on the ice. Now, nearly fifty years later, he is retiring as the Skokie Park District’s hockey director, a career as a coach and a goalie that led him to the Illinois Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 2008.
He began his director stint at the Skatium on June 12, 1987, also serving as the golf program supervisor (the Weber Park Golf Course shared an office with the ice rink). His first major event as hockey director came after a conversation with the father of 11-year-old Kevin Magnuson’s dad, Keith, a former Chicago Blackhawks all-star defender and captain. The two helped put together the first Blackhawks’ Alumni Game in January of 1988, held at the Skatium, and featuring 15 players, including Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito and Magnuson.
Since the beginning, Glickman has also coached his share of Skokie Flyers-gone-pro, such as NHL right winger Mike Brown, longtime New York Islanders’ goaltender Rick DiPietro, and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Gerald Coleman.
“As proud as I am of those players,” he said, “I am as proud of every other kid who has played here, and especially the kids who have helped out at the rink, many of whom have gone on to become doctors, lawyers and artists.”
One of Glickman’s fondest programming memories doesn’t involve ice hockey at all. From 1992-97 he put together a summer roller hockey league, the “Skokie Scorch,” with several teams in two age divisions playing on the Devonshire Elementary School and Old Orchard Junior High School playgrounds.
In 2013, Glickman, who had until then made his living coaching youth, coached Team USA's 40-and-over squad at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, upsetting the Russians and Canadians to win the gold medal.
Asked to make a list of some of his other favorite Skatium moments, Glickman rattled off the following:
• Denis Savard and Eddie Olczyk hold clinics at the Skatium 2010-13
• The Stanley Cup visits the Skatium in 2013
• Legacy Skatium (Hockey) Night in 2014
• Mike Brown Day in 2016
• During a 2016 tech failure, Steve steps up to sing the National Anthem
• Svengoolie visits the Skatium Halloween Party in 2015 and 2016
• Sled Hockey at the Skatium, 2017 and 2020