Social Media Director
The Keene State College hockey team certainly has things to look forward to in the near future. One of these things: the very realistic possibility of a year-round skating facility in Keene. A new non-profit, charitable organization, Keene Ice, is helping turn those drawings and plans they’ve been working on for two years into a high-quality, year-round, ice skating facility.
Craig Lindsay, publicity director of Keene Ice said, “We’ve done our research. We know that we can provide constituency to the people of the community by providing a facility that is skateable year round. So we figured the expenses and the cost of managing the rink, and there will bring a surplus of money into Keene.”As expected, a lot of Keene Ice’s biggest fans are members or supporters of the KSC club hockey team.
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Aaron Testa, sophomore and member of the team, is one of Keene Ice’s biggest supporters. Testa, a graphic design major, helped design logos and flyers for the campaign.
“Keene is such a great town, and there’s so much hockey in this area. And to not have the facilities to support that is a huge disadvantage. I think we are losing attention from potential students and surrounding communities because we don’t have year round ice in Keene,” Testa said.
Testa added that having a rink in Keene would really liven the town up and bring a lot more attention to the area. Also among Keene Ice’s fans, KSC club hockey coach, Bobby Rodrigue.
“An ice rink in Keene would bring more credibility to the Keene State hockey team,” said Rodrigue. “Myself and the team are 100 percent supportive of the efforts of Keene Ice.”
“We have a great working relationship with Keene Ice right now. They are trying to help make our program better so we are going to help them out,” Testa said.
There are a lot of students feeling the waves KSC club hockey and Keene Ice are making together, but there’s always room for more support.
“The most important thing Keene State can do right now is go to the website (keeneice.org) and register. If you believe that Keene and your team need a rink, go there and sign up. By signing up, all you are saying is that you believe in this project,” Lindsay said.
With the assistance of the hockey team and other believers, Keene State College is hearing Keene Ice’s message.
600 supporters have registered so far, notably KSC President Helen Giles-Gee and KSC Athletic Director John Ratliff.
“There is a lot of buzz on campus and that’s what we want to see,” Testa said. “We set up a table in the student center one day to spread the word and in that one day, over 200 Keene State College students signed the online petition.”
The ice rink’s current proposed location is 350 Marlboro St. The proximity to the college is a reason why that location was chosen. Also, the close distance to downtown Keene will help provide local businesses with a little extra surge year-round.
“We haven’t started a capital campaign yet, but we are now in the process of negotiating with the city manager, John MacLean, because we are interested in putting the rink into a city building. The cement is mixing, but it is not set and cast,” Lindsay said.
Testa sees many reasons for an ice rink in Keene. Among the obvious advantages it would provide for the hockey team, Testa said he thinks it will also help bring the college and community closer together.
“You always see students out on the 20 by 20 rink that’s on campus in the winter. Imagine if we had a facility where they could do that all the time,” Testa said.
He added that he thinks it would be good to have the hockey team out there skating with other students to promote the team and the college in general.
And to make that happen, Keene needs a rink. Keene Ice thinks an ice rink will help raise the overall profitability of the town itself.
“Most of the members of the board for Keene Ice are hockey parents. So we travel to different regions with our kids for games. And we see the benefits of ice rinks,” Lindsay said. “When you go to these other facilities, you have to eat before the game and before you leave, you go downtown and shop in between games, you spend a lot of time in these areas. And a lot of money.”
He added that Keene Ice wants to sell Keene. An ice rink isn’t quite on the scale of Pumpkin Festival, but they believe it would bring a lot of business to the community.
There are many reasons to support the Keene Ice movement. For all students who are interested in helping get a year-round ice rink built in Keene, visit the Keene Ice website and register at www.keeneice.org.
Michelle Berthiaume can be contacted at email@example.com