Skokie has a national reputation in many areas — from its award-winning public library, park district, and village services — to its sculpture park, festivals and holocaust museum. And for those who lace up hockey or figure skates, the Skatium Ice Arena is known around the country as one of the top facilities for ice skating programs and events.
First and foremost the Skatium offers figure skating and hockey programs, taught by professionals who provide comprehensive classes and leagues for all ages and abilities. The Skatium figure skating program and its director, Kerry Murphy, were recently named best in the nation by United States Figure Skating (USFS), the national governing body for figure skating. The Skatium’s USFS basic skills curriculum packs the arena every season, allowing children ages 3 to learn to skate. Murphy also brings in world champion and Olympic figure skaters for the program’s annual ice show in May, international stars such as Scott Hamilton, Sasha Cohen, Kurt Browning, Todd Eldredge, Yuka Sato, Evan Lysacek, Kimmie Meisner, Paul Wylie, Tanith Belbin, Irina Slutskaya and Johnny Weir.
The Skatium’s hockey program is also known for its excellence throughout Chicagoland. Its director, Steve Glickman, is a member of the Illinois Hockey Hall-of-Fame and coached a master’s team to a gold medal at the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel. The Skatium hockey program features classes for kids 3 , with programs and skills clinics for older children and adults, as well as hockey leagues and summer camps. Glickman also routinely brings in former Chicago Blackhawk stars to run clinics. In 1988 he helped organize the first Blackhawk Alumni game, which was played at the Skatium.
“Our customers come here, not only for a family-friendly experience,” said Skatium manager Frank Gallagher, “but because our staff know how to teach according to the latest trends in their sport.”
But it is not just “family” and “fresh” that keeps people coming back to skate. Skatium management have decades of experience and have collectively taught nearly three generations of Skokie residents to learn to skate. Gallagher has been at the rink since 1975, Murphy since 1987, Glickman, who at age 11 was the first skater to step on the Skatium ice, also since 1987, and office manager Iris Levin since 2005.
And the recently-renovated arena itself takes no backseat to the staff and its programs. Featuring a full-size rink, a studio rink, space for private parties, skate rental and a sandwich shop, the facility is also open for public skating, year-round. In 2011, the 34,000 square foot building was rebuilt and opened to rave reviews from Skokie residents, community officials, and the state park district community. The Skatium won the Outstanding Facility & Park Award for “exceptional and unique achievements in design and development” from the Illinois Park and Recreation Association.
For Skatium information, visit www.SkokieParks.org, or call (847) 674-1500, ext. 2900.