A non-profit program that helps Cape Breton children learn how to skate for free has found a new home.

Glace Bay’s only rink closed in August, putting the Learn to Skate program in jeopardy. The program had been searching for ice time elsewhere, but organizer Nick Bonnar was worried it would cost the program thousands of dollars to move to another rink.

Now, Bonnar says the program has reached a deal with Cape Breton University.

“The price is very reasonable for us to pay, whether we fundraise or people donate,” said Bonnar. “It’s just an awesome feeling to be in this building.”

Bonnar says it felt like Christmas as roughly 35 children laced up and hit the ice at CBU for the first time Monday.

“I don’t think you could get any better,” he said. “When you’re around kids that just want to be there in a place to enjoy themselves and learn, it’s a great feeling.”

An added boost to the program was an anonymous donation of roughly 60 helmets at a value Bonnar estimates to be around $5,000. He says complete sets of hockey gear have also been dropped off.

“It’s not about how much someone gives you,” he said. “It’s that they thought enough of the program to keep it going.”

There are some kinks to be worked out, including organizing drives for participants. The rink at CBU is roughly a 15-minute drive from the previous location at the Bayplex and not every child will have a drive, but Bonnar says, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“If they haven’t got a way to get there, we’ll get them there,” he said. “That’s not going to be an obstacle.”

Bonnar says the new location is more central, which might actually result in more children taking part in the program.

He also says the program is still seeking donations and grants, but the main thing is they’re back on solid ice for another season.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald