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John I think the kid's should be allowed to do both. Work on the skating technique without the puck and play tag games and pom pom, also use your edges and focus on body position.
You must also learn how to do the same things with a puck because if you can't do anything with that little black disk then you are not a good hockey player.
I go to this big outdoor rink during the winter (it is a canoeing area in the summer) and skate for about 60-90 minutes. No sticks are allowed. I make up skating exercises and do all sorts of variations of figure eights and change of pace etc. This helps the skating technique (an gives an old guy like me some fresh air and exercise)
i also go to an outdoor hockey rink and do the same thing with a puck, sometimes by myself before anyone else gets there and the ice is fresh or with someone else.
Everything we do with good technique helps and if we need someone to show us good technique then power skating instruction may be the thing to do. I just wish the instructors would get rid of allow the kid's to play a lot more games (inclusive and not elimination games).