Director of operations Corey Parent said town workers need a few weeks to make repairs on equipment required for the build, but he expects the rink — to be located on the western side of the larger softball field — will be available sometime in mid-January.
“This community often considers itself Hockeyville USA, and the Hockey Capital of America,” Parent said. “This is just an opportunity to expand on that.”
Once completed, the project will help the town co-host an adult hockey tournament with Mill River Brewing BBQ & Smokehouse, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 12.
Mill River co-owner David Fitzgerald said he’s already had teams of people calling to take part in the inaugural Mill River Brewing Winter Classic.
Right now, he’s organizing two leagues for adults: one competitive and one more relaxed. Each league is to have six teams, and Fitzgerald said he already has enough teams to fill both leagues despite the lack of an official announcement about the tournament. The number of teams could be expanded, however, depending on feedback.
“If we get an overwhelming response and we’re turning teams away, we’d re-evaluate,” he said. “The goal is we want to make sure – from an organizational standpoint – that we’re prepared with the teams that are there.”
While Mill River is helping organize the tournament, any funds raised by the event will go toward helping update the Bay Park’s Stone House. Under the current plans, the event is expected to raise $1,000 for the bay’s historic building.
“We got a lot of locals involved with planning,” Fitzgerald said. “They’re already projecting two to three years out if we can make this a success.”
While Mill River is taking the lead on the tournament, several organizations have made donations to make the bay park rink a reality.
For example, the rink’s hockey boards and the use of a Zamboni ice resurfacer is being donated by the St. Albans Skating Association, which will use the rink for weekly practices. Other project sponsors include Ben & Jerry’s and Sticks and Stuff.
Town officials expect the rink to be available for public skating for both children and adults when it's not being used by SASA. The only other local option for adults who want to go skating is to access the public skate times – available weekday mornings and afternoons – at Collins Perley Sports Complex.
“You’re going to have it open to the public more than any other organization or tournament, I would say,” Board Chair Brendan Deso said. “If we add some nice outdoor lighting, so people can use it afterward for the kids, I think it has the potential to be one of the most positive things we’d done in the park.”
Those interested in learning more about the tournament can find details online at https://bit.ly/3yPWaj3. Cost of each team to participate is $300.
Written by Josh Ellerbrock. Link to the original St. Albans Messenger Article is here.