Coming soon: Keene Ice

Fear not local hockey fans, there will be a rink in town come winter time after all. The new ice rink, currently being built on Marlboro Street in Keene, is expected to be open by the middle of November.

Head Coach of Keene State College’s men’s ice hockey team (which is a club team) Bobby Rodrigue said that the team is scheduled to begin playing at the new rink on November 17.

While the rink will be open by the middle of November, this wasn’t  the original date of completion. According to an update on posted in February of 2015 by President of Keene Ice Beth Truman, the rink was originally expected to be completed in October.

The post also stated that construction had already begun, while Vice President of Keene Ice Anthony Santorelli stated in February of 2015 that construction wouldn’t begin until April. On September 23, Santorelli confirmed this in a phone interview, saying that construction did not begin until April. After several attempts to contact Beth Truman, she denied comment.

When asked about why the rink’s construction didn’t begin until April, Santorelli said, “We had to have all of our ducks in a row from a financial standpoint.” Santorelli also said that the delays were not related to construction issues.

Since the rink won’t be open until the middle of November, the Keene State club hockey teams

George Amaru // Art Director

George Amaru // Art Director

will have to find a place to play for the earlier portion of their season. Usually, the men’s team travels to Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts for the first few weeks. This year, however, both the men’s and women’s teams have been scheduling ice time at the Winchendon School, which is about a 30-minute drive from KSC.

According to Rodrigue, this is the first time in several years that the Men’s team has played regularly at the Winchendon School.

“The last time we used that rink was about five years ago, at least on a consistent basis,” Rodrigue said.

President of the Keene State Women’s ice hockey club Maggie McNamara said that the women’s team is also using the Winchendon School while construction on Keene Ice finishes up.

With all of the delays that have occurred in the process, McNamara is a bit worried about not being able to play in the new rink come mid-November. McNamara said that she only scheduled ice time at the Winchendon School until the first week of November and that she is afraid of further delays popping up.

If something does come up, the women’s team could be without a place to practice for a short period of time.

“I should have been more safe than sorry, I only scheduled us there until the first week of November,” McNamara said.

While the teams are going to have to find an alternate facility to use while construction gets completed on the new facility, it isn’t a new process for the teams. In past years, the Keene State College hockey teams used the Cheshire Ice Arena, also known as ‘the barn,’ as their home rink. However, the barn was never open in time for the beginning of KSC’s seasons, so they were forced to look elsewhere.

Usually, the Owls play their early games and practices at Cushing Academy. The Winchendon School, however, is an easier commute for the players.

“It’s about twelve minutes shorter each way,” Rodrigue said.

Rodrigue also mentioned the similarities between the Winchendon School’s rink and the new rink in Keene.

“The layout of the Winchendon School [rink] is nearly identical to the Keene Ice layout,” Rodrigue said.

This will give the teams the chance to become accustomed to playing in that type of facility early on.

Putting all of the delays, difficulties and scheduling issues aside, both the men and women teams are extremely excited to have a new facility in town.

Vice President of the KSC women’s club hockey team Lauren Roche said, “It’s very exciting. It’s definitely an upgrade from Cheshire and hopefully it will attract more fans and support from our school.”

Rodrigue thinks that the new rink will help attract not only students who play hockey, but new students of all kinds. “Obviously a new rink is a recruiting tool for prospective students, but I think this new rink is going to be a recruiting tool for prospective students across the board. In terms of intramural leagues, in terms of spectating, it’s all going to be more attractive.” Rodrigue said.

Crae Messer can be contacted at

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