The Path to WC Hockey

The path to Winter Club Hockey

WC Hockey starts with the Little Polar Bear Program which includes Learn to Skate (LTS) and Learn to Play Hockey (LTPH). The Little Polar Bear program is for WC members AND non-members as well.

Learn to Skate (LTS)

Skaters begin their hockey careers with the LTS program. This is a structured skating program that does not incorporate sticks, pucks, or hockey equipment. The program focuses on the basics of skating, balance and learning edges. 


Fun, interactive drills are utilized to enhance development while getting players accustomed to the ice.


There are 4 sessions throughout a season which take place at Lake Forest College and the Winter Club.


Session 4 will be held at Lake Forest College on Sunday mornings, 8:00-8:45am. April 2nd through May 21st.


Required for LTS: Skates and a Helmet


Session Cost: $275


Fun Facts About LTS

**There were over 50 participants this season in our hugely popular LTS!

**Two groups are run on ice concurrently based on skill and level of assistance needed. Some may need to push a chair while others may be more confident on their own and getting ready to move up to Learn to Play Hockey

**Parents with previous skating experience are welcome to join LTS skaters on the ice, (helmets and skates required).

Learn to Play Hockey (LTPH)

Within the Little Polar Bear program is our next step for aspiring hockey players, the Learn to Play Hockey (LTPH).

The WC coaching staff will work with you to decide when your skater is ready to move up from LTS to LTPH. This is done on a rolling basis throughout the season to keep your skater having fun!

 Learn to Play Hockey starts to focus on utilizing a stick, working with a puck, and PLAYING hockey games.

 There are 4 sessions throughout a season which take place at Lake Forest College and the Winter Club.

 Skaters with prior experience can enter the LTPH hockey program without participating in the LTS program, (with approval from the WC coaches).

 Since sticks and pucks are utilized, full hockey gear is required: Helmet, skates, pants, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, shin guards and shin guard socks.

 Session 4 Cost: $275


Fun Facts About LTPH

**LTPH starts at Lake Forest College with Session 1, once per week. When our WC ice is ready, the program transitions to the Winter Club for Sessions 2& 3, and players will have one practice session and one cross ice game session per week. The season concludes with Session 4 at Lake Forest College once per week where our players can further hone their skills or new players can move up.

 **Cross ice games are the highlight of the week on Saturday mornings at the WC, you need to see it to believe it! WC egg sandwiches and hot chocolate make it the perfect weekend morning!

Winter Club Hockey

Once players graduate from the Little Polar Bear Program, they are ready to enter the WC Hockey program. Our hockey program is co-ed.

Most players will enter the program at the Mite level. The level you enter is based on birth year.

For the 2023-24 Fall Season:

Mites 2015 through 2018 Birth Years

Squirts 2013 and 2014 Birth Years

Peewees 2011 and 2012 Birth Years

Bantams 2010 and 2009 Birth Years

This is a traditional youth hockey program where teams are selected by tryouts and play league games throughout Illinois. We also take our teams to a tournament or two each season, which are some of the most memorable events for players and families alike. Most of our teams participate in the NIHL league which is one of the largest in Illinois.

WC Hockey is different! The distinguishing feature of WC Hockey is that it’s community based. Many hockey programs recruit throughout the entire state of IL. WC Hockey primarily serves the Lake Forest /Lake Bluff communities. For those who keep playing after their Winter Club days, most go on to play for Lake Forest High School.

 Those teammates your player once pushed in a chair at Learn to Skate end up being close friends through high school. Outdoor ice, Friday night games under the lights & lifelong friends – this is truly a special place to play hockey.

A Player's Typical Journey

Alex starts in the Learn to Skate program in Session 1 of the 2021-22 Fall season and is 5 years old (2015 birth year). He is eligible to play Mite Winter Club hockey but has just started skating and is not ready for the Mite level. This is ok!

Alex enjoys the LTS and does Session 1, Session 2, and Session 3. After Session 3 the Coaches approach Alex’s parents and discuss his progression and decide it’s time for Alex to move up to LTPH.

Alex’s parents sign him up for Learn to Play Hockey (LTPH) Session 4 and get him all the equipment he needs. (Play it Again Sports or hand- me-downs from friends are a great options)

 Alex then skates in Session 4 of LTPH in the 2021-22 Season. 

 Since Alex is relatively new to LTPH and has completed only one session (Session 4) of LTPH the coaches and Alex’s parents decide it’s in the best interest to have Alex participate in LTPH for the entire season of 2022-23. 

 Alex participates in Session 1, 2, and 3 of LTPH hockey of the 2021-22 Season and it’s now time for Alex to make the jump to WC Hockey.

Alex is eligible for Mites in Spring 2022 in the WC Hockey program. Spring is two ice sessions per week for 8 weeks and then a local tournament in mid, to end of May.

Fall Hockey starts in September and Alex is signed up for Mite hockey at the Winter Club for his first Fall season as a WC Hockey player.

 The point to all this is each player’s path is different based on skill, development progression and birth year. As a small program, we have the flexibility and personal commitment to guide each player through their hockey career that is not possible at larger programs.

Want more information regarding hockey? Follow the link below:

For More Information

Questions, please contact us


Steve Sarauer

WC Hockey Director



Jimmy Warrick

WC Assistant Hockey Director


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