Local ice hockey coach launches School of Hockey

Growing up in the snowy land of Minnesota, Dave Weaver learned to love hockey. Like many youngsters in that region, Weaver had ice skates on his feet shortly after learning how to walk. Now, after coaching hockey locally since 1999, it’s no surprise that the WRTA radio talk show host is launching his own business school of hockey.
The grand opening for the Dave Weaver School of Hockey is from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow at 514 East Pleasant Valley Boulevard in the rear of the Hench Plaza. Admission is free. The school features an office, locker rooms and a 36 by 24 feet practice area with synthetic ice. Weaver said the synthetic ice is a “95 percent equivalent to ice.”
“We can do a lot of shooting, stick handling, and passing. It won’t work on someone’s stride on the ice. But what it will do is help with quick turns, technique work, and skill development.”
Weaver said that the synthetic ice was patented in 1999 and is marketed by Don Mason via on the web. The company has installed the synthetic ice in “hundreds of basements,” Weaver said. While he doesn’t expect the product to replace real ice in the rink, the Minnesota Wild use it for training.
Weaver seems to be riding a growing wave of local hockey interest that began even before he came to Altoona. The Altoona Express hockey club team was playing out of the Indiana ice rink, but the team’s coach was about to leave to serve in the military. At the time, Weaver said, he had been working for WRTA for about six months, and one day during his show, discussed having played hockey in college. The parent of an Express player heard Weaver on the air and asked him to consider coaching the local team.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Weaver now coaches the Altoona Trackers, Midget A Major team, the Altoona Area Mountain Lions hockey team, and the Altoona Collegiate Hockey Team. But he can’t get enough.
“When you’re born in Minnesota, and you’re one and a half years old when they strap skates on you–it’s in your blood,” he said.
But why take on a business while managing a full-time job and a challenging coaching schedule? Weaver responded: “It’s fun. Obviously, it’s a business, and you want to make money, but it’s fun.”
Three other coaches will assist Weaver in teaching at the school. Mike Ross is currently the head coach of the Altoona Junior High hockey team, has taught private hockey lessons, and has served as an assistant coach for the Altoona Express, the Trackers Midget A Major team, and the Altoona Area Mountain Lions. Ross has been involved with ice and roller hockey for more than ten years as both a coach and a player.
Tom Lantz is an assistant coach for the Hollidaysburg Area Golden Tiger hockey team. Lantz has played the goalie position for ten years, and has been coaching goalies for the last two years.
Chris Cogan, a veteran player for the Express and the Trackers, was instrumental in forming the Altoona Collegiate Hockey Team at Penn State Altoona this year. Cogan is the team’s captain, has taught private lessons, and is a certified ice hockey referee.
Lessons are available privately or in groups. For more information, call 932-3973.