This is not political, but it is personal. The ice skating rink in South Berkeley is at risk of closing. At the risk of seeming a bit off-topic for the blog, I’d like to remind you all of the dearth of opportunities for social and athletic pursuits which exist for both children and adults in our community(-ies).
(one of our ‘lil hockey players)
Case in point, Tom Ratliff, Board Member for the Berkeley YMCA attended the most recent meeting of the SaveBerkeleyIceland.org non-profit group, which is now meeting weekly to discuss structural and fund raising issues. Tom indicated that the demographics the rink serves with its public skating, ice hockey and figure skating programs are irreplaceable in our area of the Bay Area. I can attest to this, as I have been coaching ice hockey in this facility for ~18 years and have received feedback from countless families and former players.
The lessons learned in this environment are what I’ve heard referred to as CO-CURRICULAR. These are complimentary to the traditional educational experience. Coaching to me has more to do with teaching life lessons than teaching a 10-year old how to skate faster, make his/her slapshot faster or the latest strategies in the game. Hockey, like figure skating is merely a vehicle, a conduit for expanding one’s mind and providing an opportunity for exercise as well.
Berkeley Iceland is my rink. I learned to skate there as a little boy and now I’m hoping to find others who feel it is a worthwhile candidate for their attention and participation in this time of need.
Berkeley Iceland is the current home of the Cal Ice Hockey team, the Berkeley Bulldogs Youth Hockey program, the St. Moritz Ice Skating Club and former training facility for both Brian Boitano and Kristi Yamaguchi. Previous teams who have practice and/or played at our rink are the USA Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey team, the Japanese Olympic Ice Hockey team and the California Golden Seals (NHL).