Local hockey program's future remains unclear amid ice rink sale

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 10:43 PM MST
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Hockey on the Western Slope is in jeopardy as the sale of Glacier Ice Arena could eliminate the only playing surface in the area.

Glacier Ice Arena has been up for sale since June of 2019. Since that time, the hockey programs that are held there have been operating with an unknown of how long they will be able to skate there.

"We have about close to thirty kids (in our eight and under program), a lot of them new,” said Hockey Programs Director Walter Fox. “If it's not an ice rink, it takes away their opportunity."

Some parents on the western slope drive from Ouray, Delta, and Garfield to bring their kids to skate. The youth hockey program has been around 8-10 years but they wouldn't be the only ones losing the ice.

(walter fox) "It would affect CMU because they have a club team, it affects figure skaters because we have figure skaters with public skate and there is also an adult league too," said Fox.

For some of the kids that are more experienced, they have grown up playing at Glacier.

"It wasn't actually me, it was my dad,” said Chase Pennell. “I was really bad at skiing and he thought it would help my balance. When you've been doing it as long as I have, it's basically like your second nature because you do it so easily.”

"Just to have a skating rink five miles away, I love hockey so it's fun to come down here and play whenever I want to get my mind off stuff or just play,” Anthony Skumburdes said. “It keeps me out of trouble."

All of the coaches volunteer their time to help fuel these kids passion for hockey.

"They walk by and they're like, 'Hey, coach' or they nudge you a little bit,” Fox said. “They appreciate what we do. They just want to get out there and skate. It's really rewarding."

"As soon as I started, everyone was so supportive and everyone was helping me out just trying to grow my love for the game," said Skumburdes.

With the building up for sale, there are no guarantees that the rink will be around for long.

"For everybody here it would be such a bad feeling because this is like our life” Pennell said. “It's part of what we do."

"It would be terrible because the closest rink is over 70 miles away so we would really have nowhere else to play,” said Skumburdes. “Unless we wanted to do that, it's a big weight on the people who drive us' shoulders and even us. We get home at one o'clock in the morning and go to school the next day. It's just great to have a rink close by."

"If you don't necessarily think you are going to use the ice rink, the kids use it and other groups use it,” said Fox. “I really hope people would push it for the kids."

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