Arena entices skaters both old and new
As a youth growing up in the Boston area, Diane Murphy spent her time like many New Englanders on the ice. But once she moved to Park City, the 30-minute trip down to Salt Lake didn’t seem worth it just to take a spin around the ice.
And then this weekend, everything changed.
The Park City Ice Arena a joint project between the city and county that finally came to fruition off of S.R. 248 and U.S. 40 at Quinn’s Junction opened its doors to the public on Saturday.
Murphy soon found herself getting back on the ice first in familiar figure skates, then a pair of hockey skates and finally, speed skates.
"I learned figure as a kid and haven’t skated since today," Murphy said.
Murphy is not alone. The weekend welcomed many Parkites who had spent their childhood in ice-friendly locales like Colorado, Minnesota and upstate New York, who were just waiting for a local rink to open to get back into ice sports. A number of people fresh to the ice came to see the new facility as well.
The Porges family was one such family eager to get onto the ice. Father, Steve, played youth hockey in Boston and mother, Cortenay, grew up figure skating in Colorado.
Years ago, Cortenay’s sister, Shannon Bennett, was talented enough to be a national competitor. Shannon will now be working as a figure skating professional in the new building.
The Porges hope to sign up their three kids for figure skating and hockey.
"We had to go to Salt Lake and it was just so hard," Cortenay said. Now mom and dad are planning to have "date night" at the arena.
Their youngest daughter, Shelby, was already excited after spending the morning on the ice with her aunt.
"It feels a little weird, but then I liked it," Shelby said.
The new facility hosted a weekend full of free skating. According to the Park City Ice Arena assistant manager Jim Dingle, as many as 200 people were scheduled for each three-hour session.
"I knew people would be excited, but they are coming in droves," Dingle said. "People have embraced this rink and facility."
"It’s so nice to finally have a decent skating rink here. I am so excited," said Park City resident Kaz Burnz as she led son Nicholas, 4, around the ice.
During the skating sessions, various programs took to the ice to demonstrate their sport. Saturday’s mid-day session featured Parkite David Harris, who skates with the Oval Speed Skating Cub of West Valley. After showing basic techniques and skills on the ice, Harris was available at a table in the lobby with registration and information on classes. In just a few hours, he had already signed up 15 people to take short track speedskating classes at the new ice sheet.
"The interest is coming from the ice, the demos and the Olympics," Harris said.
Former Swiss national team coach and current head coach for the Salt Lake Black Diamonds women’s hockey squad, Bob Devaney, of Park City, was also on hand encouraging people to get involved with his sport. Along with the help of the Park City High School hockey team, he spent Saturday showing kids the basics of hockey and generating interest in Learn-to-Play-Hockey programs. He plans on coaching and certifying coaches for hockey at the rink.
"There’s a latent group of people that want to get back into hockey," Devaney said.
The Park City firefighters took a tour of the building on Saturday and talked with the ice arena management about learning how to play broomball on the new ice.
Dingle said that the initial response to the rink was phenomenal.
"Once people get on the ice for the first time, they want to sign up," Dingle said.
When former NHL goalie Rick Tabaracci made his way onto the ice he was inspired.
"He said, ‘Jim, I hadn’t done this in years. Let’s get to putting on these clinics and get things started,’" Dingle said.
Looks like Park City is ready.
"It’s great for the city and county to combine to get this done right," said Steve Porges.
For more information about the new arena and its programs, log onto http://www.pcice.org.
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Skille will be the new director of player development for the Park City Ice Miners.