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Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex is heating up the skating world

November 12, 1997

Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex is heating

up the skating world

By KATE COLEMAN

Staff Writer

Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex is cool - really cool.

The ice in the 200-by-85-foot rink is kept at a temperature of 21 degrees.

And there's something cool going on seven days a week at the complex that opened less than three months ago.

What's happening?

Already there are about 150 people - kids and adults - taking lessons from United States Figure Skating Association certified instructors.

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The youth hockey program has about 130 kids on eight teams, and about 50 adults play hockey.

The ice rink rocks during Friday night public skate sessions with the help of a young disc jockey. The listening is a little easier for the Sunday afternoon family skates, according to interim manager Mike Griffith. Public sessions are monitored by trained skateguards.

Home-school students are skating, Boonsboro Middle School students recently came out for a field day, businesses can rent time and space for holiday parties and meetings, and Griffith is hoping to have some senior citizens come out for regular sessions.

The speed-skating organization Team Hagerstown brought Olympic speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Leslie Bader to the rink in September. The group will have a "skate-athon" in December to help raise funds for expensive protective padding along the rinks walls, says Sheila Gladhill, one of the group's coaches and member of the board of directors of Washington County Sports Foundation, the nonprofit foundation that operates the complex.

The team, composed of about 15 skaters ranging in age from 4 to 35 years old, has a few more men than women. They practice Thursday nights, working on drills, getting familiar with the ice. Until the padding is in place, they will take it a bit easy, Gladhill says.

Team Hagerstown will participate in some scrimmages this season, but probably won't compete until next year.

Washington County Sports Foundation board member Ed Keller says they are working to establish an installment purchase package and loan closet for the youth hockey program to make it affordable to more people.

There's a lot more planned in many areas at the rink.

"It just takes time," Griffith says.

Griffith stepped into management skates less than a month ago. He expects winter weather and the Feb. 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, to spark interest in ice skating.

He's seen it happen before, both in 1992 and 1994 during his four-year stint as assistant manager of the ice rink in Columbia, Md.

What's at Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex besides ice?

The pro shop is called "The 5 hole," named for one of the places to score in hockey - right between the goalie's skates.

Ice skates can be rented for 50 cents a session.

If you have your own skates, they can be sharpened for $2.50.

The rubberized floor won't damage blades when skaters come off the ice for a break.

The Dog House snack bar sells soft drinks, hot dogs, pizza, nachos, candy, hot chocolate and coffee.

Rental lockers are available for 25 cents to stow personal items you don't want to take on the ice.

There's a party room. Pizza, soft drinks and skate time are included in the party fee. Griffith hopes to have ice cream cake for kids' birthdays included soon.

Video game machines are in the "warming" area. There's also a place to sit and watch what's happening on the ice, and tables and seats where you can relax or enjoy a snack.

There is no charge to watch hockey games or figure skating.

Saturday morning hockey lessons run from 6 to 11.

For information, call 301-766-9122.

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