Background and History
Owned by Arlington County, and leased to the Washington Capitals, the Kettler Capitals Iceplex opened in 2006 on the 8th level of the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, VA. The “Official Home of the Roof Top Hockey Rink on the Roof” is a state of the art skating facility with two NHL sized sheets of ice, including the “Capitals rink” where our nation’s NHL hockey team officially practices. If you enter the Ballston Common Mall garage and drive up to the 8th level, you will be on the top level of the parking lot where outdoor entrances to the rink are located. If you want to park indoors, the “Arlington rink” is adjacent to elevators which bring you into the facility from levels two through seven in the parking garage. You can access the entire iceplex from this rink as well.
This very busy, well attended skating facility opens up early in the morning for private lessons (5:15am) and can close as late as midnight to accommodate adult leagues willing to claim the hours in exchange for valuable ice time.
The family friendly complex offers a multitude of learn to skate programs for young children, youth, adults and seniors. Public skating is scheduled daily with the following fees: children 12 and under – $7; adults 13 and over – $8; seniors 55 and up – $6. Individual skate rental is $4 per person. Helmet protection for all skaters is recommended by the rink to prevent injuries. Group rates for birthday parties (special party rooms available) and other celebrations can be scheduled in advance by calling 571.224.0555.
Frequent skaters can buy a public skate card for $70 which is good for 10 sessions and expires 12 months from the date purchased. The calendar lists all of the open skate sessions. Wednesday evenings are designated “Adults Only Skate,” open to patrons 18 years and older.
One of the deals the Capitals made with the county was to guarantee a minimum of 500 hours per year of discounted admission and ice time for Arlington County residents. Special skate sessions sponsored by the county are held at various times throughout the year for only $1 which includes skate rentals. The Arlington sponsored events are listed on the public schedules.
The “Capitals” rink has metal bleachers on one side for viewing. This is where the Washington Capitals practice. The majority of practices are free and open to the public. You can view that schedule online. The “Arlington” rink does not have bleachers and spectators can either watch the action from the second floor or stand near the protective glass shields around the rink.
At the very top of the bleachers in the “Capitals” rink, the second level of the complex can be accessed. Large windows allow spectators to watch both sheets of ice while keeping warm and cozy. A large restroom is also located on this level. Recently, the Pro Shop moved to the second level. Skating gear for figure skaters and hockey players can be purchased in the store.
Store personnel are helpful and more than willing to help fit new skates onto the eager feet of adults and children. Figure skates and hockey skates as well as all of the safety apparel needed to play ice hockey can be purchased in the store. They also do a very good job of skate sharpening. Leave your skates for a couple of hours and shop the mall or grab a bite to eat in one of the many dining establishments in the mall (including a lower level food court).
Lessons and Leagues
The Capitals Academy teachers beginner, intermediate and advanced skaters all the necessary skills to play ice hockey. Clinics are held year round for adults and youngsters. Upon mastery of the basic skills necessary to play ice hockey, skaters are ready to join one of the many youth and adult leagues sponsored through the rink. The Youth House Leagues have become extremely popular, resulting in waiting lists for almost every session. Check the website for up to the minute details regarding registration and openings. There is also a Women’s Ice Hockey League which often meets in the evenings. A Women’s Learn to Play Hockey clinic is currently in session through the end of December 2010 with weekday 7:15am to 8:15am lessons.
Tots ages 3 to 6 can learn to skate in group lessons and with “Mom/Dad/Me lessons where parents skate with their children during instruction. Youth beginner skating lessons start with Basic 1 and continue up to Basic 8 for students ages 6 to 16. Figure skating lessons are taught at all levels. Junior Hockey 1 is a class for little ones ages 6 and under. The next levels are Hockey 1 to Hockey 4 which require prior skating experience and various ability levels. Specialized classes include: Fitness Skate for Recreational Skaters; Synchronized Skating and Adaptive Learning 1 and 2 which is designed for children with special needs.
During school breaks and some holidays, the rink schedules special skating lessons, clinics and series designed to offer additional skating time for students when school is not in session. Click here for the special schedules.
Our Kids Tips
- Dress in layers with gloves to ward off the chill found on the ice and surrounding areas.
- Avoid the crowded roof top parking lot by choosing an indoor level and taking the elevators up to the 8th floor where the rink is located.