"No one really complains, it's just part of it," he said. "If you've got the bug, it just doesn't matter."
The peaked interest in ice skating usually comes every four years, during and after the Winter Olympics, according to ice rink owners and managers. Because both the U.S. hockey teams and figure skaters are poised to do well, ice rink operators believe they will see a surge in novice skaters next year.
"They'll watch it on TV and they'll think, 'Wow this is a neat sport. I want to try this,'" said Francine Larson, the figure skating director at the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge.
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The Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills, which has already seen a 10 percent increase in enrollment for introductory skating and hockey classes since the Blackhawks victory in June, also expects to benefit from the Olympics.
"An Olympic year is always a big boost for ice rinks, no matter what," said general manager and hockey director Eric Schneider.
On a recent evening at the Southwest Ice Arena, teenage hockey players skated back and forth on one sheet of ice while 4- and 5-year-olds on a second rink held tiny hockey sticks and shot pucks into miniature nets.
Meanwhile, parents and little children packed the lobby, many strapping on blades and shoulder pads under bright red Blackhawks sweaters. Rebecca Fiorentino said she drives from Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood to Crestwood because she likes the one-on-one instruction at the arena.
Fiorentino, 28, also sends her son, Daniel, to Johnny's Ice House near the United Center for classes and travels to arenas in Skokie, Bensenville and Franklin Park so he can practice. She said she's learned quickly how ice time can fill up.
Recently, when registering Daniel for a class at Johnny's, Fiorentino said she waited at the computer with her credit card in hand just before the noon sign-up time.
"If you're not at the computer at noon, it's booked," she said. "All my friends try to get their kids in, but they're full."