Ice Breakers

A West Side hockey program encourages kids to overcome barriers on and off the ice

Kids beat Erickson to the buzzer for a 50/50 raffle prize at a Blackhawks vs. Jets game in Winnipeg. Photo credit Anthony Nguyen.

On Tuesday afternoons, at the MB Ice Arena on the Near West Side, eleven-year-old Zariah Castleberry adjusts the straps on her hockey helmet, pads, and skates before hobbling over to the ice. She joins ten kids between the ages of seven and seventeen for ninety minutes of skating and stick-handling drills. Zariah comes back to the locker room tired but happy. This is her fourth year playing hockey.