Waterville has a new synthetic rink at AYCC, working on a new rink

WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) – The pandemic is making it difficult for young hockey players to find ice time. Waterville has a solution for getting kids skating on a new rink that isn’t made of ice…

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

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

“To ensure that many children, especially disadvantaged children, have the opportunity to get on skates,” says Alfond Youth & Community Center CEO Ken Walsh, “They can walk to the end of the hall, our 5,000 young members could all have access to it, easy access.”

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

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

“Isn’t it great, it’s a big part of this thing and you can put it anywhere,” Walsh says, “So even in the summer months we could pick it up and put it outside in the parking lot and people could still skate.”

The small size of the rink plays in the direction USA Hockey is taking with small surface games for skill development.

“We work piece by piece by piece. Skating, stickhandling, passing, sparring 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 everything together.

The big plate of ice to put everything together is also in preparation. Thanks to a major donation of rink equipment from Colby and a private $1 million pledge, Waterville could soon return to its strong hockey roots.

“It provided an opportunity to build a full rink here in Waterville,” says Walsh, “We are working closely with the city to determine where it will be. The process is just starting the engines.

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