A cute critter is welcoming kids to the ice in the Township of Langley and making it easier for beginners to learn how to skate.
“Bobby the Seal” is a plastic skating aid that is being used at the George Preston Recreation Centre in Brookswood to give young or novice skaters something solid to hold on to or sit on as they master their skills. Shaped like a marine mammal, the aid features a “tail” handle that allows riders to be pushed along the ice.
“The Bobby the Seal skating buddies are taking the rink by storm,” said Keith Holloway, acting recreation centre supervisor at George Preston.
“It’s a fun way to get people out on the ice, keep them active, and build confidence. They are great for all skaters of any age, as you can sit on them and be pushed, or use them as a traditional skating aid.”
Township staff purchased ten of the seals in December of 2016, and started renting them out in January 2017. Since then, the Bobbies have been in great demand by the public, who can rent them from the skate shop at a cost of $1 per half hour.
They are also used during Learn to Skate sessions at George Preston.
“We have had lots of interest in them during our programs,” Holloway said.
He noted the seals are a safer alternative to traditionally-shaped plastic skate aids, which people sometimes flip over and push their kids on – a practice that is not allowed, as it could result in injury.
“We have a fun, safe, and versatile skating aid for all ages, and encourage people to come out and take a Bobby for a spin,” Holloway said.