It’s a sad day: Closing of Glacier bums skaters out
When the Glacier Ice Arena announced it will close next week, it sent a shockwave through the skating community in the Grand Valley.
The mood Friday in the four-year-old building was melancholy.
“There are a lot of regulars coming in broken-hearted,” Glacier General Manager Bob Coslett said. “It’s unfortunate for the kids.”
It took nearly 10 years of fundraising to get the rink built in 2006, but a failing refrigeration system is prompting Glacier’s operators to close the doors Monday.
Glacier was scheduled to offer programs throughout the summer on learning to skate and how to play hockey.
Glacier owners Alan and Robbie Koos released a statement Thursday that addressed the closing of the rink: “We will pray that good will come of this situation and that the rink will open again soon. We thank all of our skaters, young and old, who have supported the rink over the past four years.”
Before Glacier is shuttered, the rink is giving everyone a chance for one last spin on the ice.
Several sessions of public skating are planned, plus final games for junior and adult hockey teams and a final curling session begins at 10:30 on Sunday morning.
The final weekend probably won’t be a happy time.
“It’s a sad day in the hockey community,” Glacier hockey director Ray Johnson said. “I don’t even know what’s going to happen.”
Johnson helps organize a junior house league, a junior travel league, adult coed hockey, adult male hockey and hockey clinics.
The adult male hockey league began playing a summer season in late May that was to run until August.
The final event on the ice Sunday will be that four-team league playing its championship game at 10:30 p.m., after a two-week season.
“We are telling them to hold onto what little hope we have,” Johnson said. “We have to hope something will happen and we can be playing in the fall.”
Although Johnson feels sorry for players losing their home rink, he said he’s sick for the loss of the youth program.
Roughly 250 kids use the rink, and Johnson said it’s hard to tell those players their hockey future is in limbo.
“It’s hard for all the kids, where are they going to go?” said Johnson, 28. “I started playing roller hockey when I was 12 years old, and getting this rink was a dream come true.”
The Junior Mavs hockey program isn’t the only group hurt by the closing of the rink. Kameron Dudek, the head coach of the Mesa State College club hockey team, said the news was hard to take.
“We knew there had been issues for quite some times,” Dudek said. “Hopefully it will reopen sooner rather than later. We possibly will cancel our home games and play only the away games.”
Dudek said it’s a blow to the program that had come a long way in four years.
“We had 15 players that we signed to come play for us (in the fall), and I doubt they’ll come now,” Dudek said. “We would only be able to suffer one year of so much travel to practice and play if the rink doesn’t reopen.”
Dudek said Mesa could play home games in Vernal, Utah, or Glenwood Springs.
“This is a huge loss not just for Mesa State hockey,” Dudek said, “but for ice sports in the valley.”
The Glacier figure skating program will also be affected by the closure. Their final ice time is this morning.
“It’s devastating,” Glacier figure skating director Ciji Green said. “We had kids that have been here since day one.”