Skaters celebrate rink rebirth

Photosby CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—One-year-old Samantha Utter and her mother, Amanda Lee, enjoy a skate around the reopened Glacier Ice Arena on Saturday afternoon. The arena had been closed since 2010 because of a faulty refrigeration system. The rink will have sign-ups for skating lessons and hockey leagues

Erika Frost, 12, left, and Kellee Walter,14 both of Grand Junction, skate around the reopened Glacier Ice Arena on Saturday.

Sienna Williams was still in the tummy of her mom, Debra, the first time she was on the ice at Glacier Ice Arena, 2515 Riverside Parkway.

On Saturday, during the much-anticipated reopening of the rink, Sienna, a 4-year-old girl in a polka-dotted skirt and leggings, tried the ice for herself.

“She’s been talking about wanting to go for several months,” Williams said as she waited with three of her young children during a break in open skating as the Zamboni and its driver finished preparing the ice.

“I’ve always loved skating,” she added. “Now that I have a little daughter I wanted to teach her to skate, too. When the news broke that they were opening back up, I was just ecstatic.”

The Williams family was among dozens of people who were thrilled to lace up skates and scoot around the rink. After the break, eager skaters spilled onto the ice. Some wobbly skaters clutched the wall as if their lives depended on it. Others, like a trio of teenage girls, skated off effortlessly with arms linked. A father guided along his young son between his legs. The tot was outfitted in a hockey mask and mini hockey skates.

The rink owned by Alan and Robbie Koos was shuttered in the summer of 2010 because of a faulty refrigeration system. The Koos family has said they have been working all along to get the rink back open. Eventually, they were able to secure investors and open back up.

The waiting has been torture for 15-year-old Trevor Ludwick, a student at Fruita Monument High School.

“When this went down it was devastating,” he said. “This was pretty much where I lived on the weekends. My dream is to get a hockey scholarship.”

Back then, Ludwick played for the Junior Maverick hockey team. To stay competitive without having the use of the ice rink, his team sometimes skated at the Connected Lakes section of the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park. They also practiced their moves on the fields at Canyon View Park.

Still, it was evident when they traveled for games to Denver, Telluride and Gunnison, that those hockey players had better skills. They were able get on the ice more frequently.

“We still won some games,” Ludwick shrugged.

Ludwick said he’ll play on the ice rink’s Midgets team, when it starts up again. Timelines for teams are a bit off because the rink is newly opened.

Glacier Ice Arena General Manager Tom Harmon said the facility is working to sign up hockey players all of levels for in-house team leagues. Two divisions should attract players from about 3 years old to Midgets, teenage players.

Also, the rink is offering two, 8-week learn-to-skate lessons starting Dec. 11 or Dec. 14.

For information on skating times and opportunities, contact the ice rink at 242-7465.


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