VERNON HILLS, Ill. -- The Blackhawks’ successes have carved out goals for generations of Chicago area kids.
Libor Ustrnuo, former Chicago Wolves and Atlanta Thrashers defensemen, shares his love of the game to those generation as a coach at Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills.
Ustrnuo played in the NHL and the AHL, in Canada and Europe. He first stepped onto the ice at age 4.
“A lot of young kids don’t understand what it takes to become pro hockey player,” he says. “It’s a lot of dedication and commitment to it.”
He instills in students the importance of the drive to improve.
The also focus on conditioning off the ice. Inside Glacier’s Hockey Zone, there’s a specialized treadmill to perfect stride and build endurance. There’s also weight training, a skate ramp to build speed and synthetic ice for stick handling and goalie work.
Most kids work the same hours on the ice as off.
“They all want to be Duncan Keith or Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews,” Ustrnuo says. “But you have to pay a price. You have to work hard on and off the ice all year round now and you really have to commit to being a hockey player.”
The chances of being a pro may be small but the benefits of trying are innumerable. The dedication and discipline is just the beginning.
Glacier Ice Arena
670 Lakeview Pkwy, Vernon Hills, IL 60061