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Pettit Center staying busy as Winter Olympics come to an end

Posted at 8:57 PM, Feb 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-26 11:58:40-05

MILWAUKEE -- Even though the 2018 Winter Olympics have come to an end, the excitement surrounding the games will likely keep the Pettit National Ice Center busy for awhile.

During Olympic years, the center usually experiences what they call an "Olympic bump."

A new session started last week for ice skating lessons and staff said the ice was packed with people learning to skate.

"It’s been about 15 years, it’s a little harder than I remember," said Mark Sifuentes, whose 5-year-old daughter took her first ice skating lesson Sunday.

"We were watching the Olympics and it got us thinking about ice skating," he said. "Mom talked to her and she said 'yeah let’s try it dad.'"

Other more experienced skaters came out just for fun on Sunday like Brynn Kowalefski, who played hockey for about 12 years growing up.

She says she loved watching the Team USA Women's Hockey team take gold this year.

"It’s a sport that means a lot to me so to see women doing so well it’s pretty awesome," she said.

We even talked to a possible future Olympian, Abby Sonnemann, who wants to be a speed skater and started lessons on Sunday.

"I learned to do a swizzle and a dip," she said.

While the Pettit Center is seeing an increase in people signing up for skate lessons, they say there's still plenty of room for people to come out and skate. 

A spokesman for the center said by email, "The Oval is nearly 60,000 sq ft of ice and we are not close to the max capacity so plenty of room for all to enjoy through March!"

For all of those kids inspired by Team USA Hockey, coming up next weekend,  The Pettit Center is holding a Try Hockey for Free day for kids ages four through nine.

It's hosted by a local youth hockey organization called Milwaukee Blaze Hockey. Click here for more information.