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Ice rink set to open Friday

September 01, 1999

logo paintingBy DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




The Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex rink will reopen Friday afternoon, launching its third winter season.

Although the rink at 580 Security Road in Hagerstown has not lived up to original financial expectations - last month Hagerstown City Council voted to spend almost $450,000 on the rink to cover back bills and keep it open for the next year - rink officials say they now have realistic financial expectations and are optimistic for steady growth.

By Tuesday afternoon the first inch-thick layer of ice was frozen and painted white. Six men, including four volunteers, were painting red end lines and face-off circles. The second and final inch-thick layer of ice is expected to be finished today.

The rink, which closed June 19, will be open for public skating at 4 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. The rink will close each night at 9:50 p.m.

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A grand reopening celebration is planned for Sept. 10. Rink admission is $4, but everyone bringing a nonperishable food item on Sept. 10 will get in for $2.

Jamie Shyda, who took over as executive director of the day-to-day operations at the rink three weeks ago, is developing a marketing and promotional plan for the rink.

"We have to increase (attendance)," she said.

Shyda said she won't spend much time thinking about past expectations.

"People waste a lot of time looking back. OK lets move forward and get the negative junk out of the way."

In addition to established youth and adult hockey leagues, and a skating lesson program, several events and programs are planned.

Shyda said, for example, teen nights with music provided by disc jockeys will be held perhaps twice a month, Shippensburg University has agreed to use the rink for its intramural hockey league, and rink officials are trying to set up hockey camps for the season and possibly next summer.

Although she didn't have specifics, Shyda said too little marketing was done last year, and this year she plans to market the rink through the local media.

From last September to April, almost 57,000 people came through the ice rink doors, including members of hockey leagues and people there for special events, Shyda said.

This season she would like to increase attendance by 10 percent.

"I feel real optimistic," she said.

Beverly Kornides, who as of today is chairwoman of the rink operations management board of the Washington County Sports Foundation, said there would be a "marketing blitz."

Kornides takes over for past foundation chairman Gary Wright.

Kornides said the hope is the rink will be financially self-sustaining within three to five years.

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