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Waterville has new synthetic skating rink at AYCC, working toward a new ice arena

Central Maine Youth Hockey hopes synthetic rink will allow players to skate during pandemic
Waterville adds new synthetic rink to allow kids to skate, working on new ice rink
Waterville adds new synthetic rink to allow kids to skate, working on new ice rink
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 10:00 PM EDT
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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - The pandemic is making it hard for young hockey players to find ice time. Waterville has a solution to get kids on skates through a new rink not made of ice...

“We had to come up with a plan for this winter to get kids on the ice, or in this case the synthetic ice, with everything that’s going on,” says Central Maine Youth Hockey volunteer John Robertson, “This was our best bang for our buck.”

Teaming up with the Alfond Youth and Community Center for a synthetic ice rink. It is about the size of a basketball court.

“To get many kids, especially disadvantaged kids, the opportunity to get on skates,” says Alfond Youth & Community Center CEO Ken Walsh, “They can walk right down the hallway, our 5000 youth members could all have access, easy access.”

“Learn to skate, learn to play hockey, learn to figure skate any of those things,” says Robertson, “It will open even more doors.”

As you see people skate on it, it looks like a regular hockey rink. But it’s actually made of these plastic sheets, which can be flipped over and makes it usable for decades.

“Isn’t that awesome, it’s a great part about this thing and you can place it anywhere,” says Walsh, “So even in the summer months, we could take it and put it outside in the parking lot and people could still skate.”

The small rink size plays into the direction USA Hockey is going with small area games for skill development.

“We work on piece by piece by piece. Skating, stickhandling, passing, battle drills, in front of the net, in the corner, along the boards,” says Robertson, “We can work on all those little parts and then we can get into the bigger sheet, full-size 85′ x 200′, where we can put it all together.”

The big sheet of ice to put it all together is also in the works. Thanks to a large donation of rink equipment from Colby, and a private million dollar pledge, Waterville could return to its strong hockey roots soon.

“This jumpstarted the opportunity to build a full sheet of ice rink here in Waterville,” says Walsh, “We are working with the city very closely on where it will be. The process is just getting the engines going.”

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