My great nephew is getting skates for an early-Christmas present. We're going to try taking him to the local rink unless the pond freezes over but I'm prepared for the same reaction. We can only keep trying.
We figure the more he is exposed and sees us doing it the sooner he'll want to do it himself. Worked with skiing! He sees all the older kids at his school playing on their skis so he was very eager to get out on his at home. He did wear the skates last winter (they just strap onto his boots) but only to be pushed around by us.
Good luck with your great nephew! I bet once he sees how much fun it is he'll be all for it!