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Hockey returns to the Bayshore Rink in South Anchorage

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:56 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Skate, sticks, pucks, and goals — all the things one expects to see when kids play hockey. That’s what parents watched as kids skated on rollerblades around the Bayshore Rink. They had reason to feel better about their children’s safety.

A large crowd turned out for the official grand opening of the new rink Wednesday night at Bayshore Elementary School in South Anchorage.

“I think it’s really awesome. I’ve been here since kindergarten and loved the rink and playing hockey,” said Brooklyn Baker, one of the skaters. “My brothers play hockey, so it’s really cool.”

The opening capped off a nine-month effort to get a new rink built to replace the old one, which had been slated for demolition last August by the Anchorage School District because of safety concerns.

It first opened in the 1970s. Yet, recent years saw it fall into near ruin with cracked concrete, and holes in the boards.

Members of Save the Bayshore Rink stepped forward to try and save it. They raised more than $100,000 in donations and labor to buy the new rink, get it shipped from Minnesota, and assembled. Donations also came from Anchorage’s Scotty Gomez Foundation, Nate Thompson and former NHL players Gary Suter and Tony Granato.

“The hardest part was not knowing exactly when things were going to happen, or if they were going to happen,” said Lee Twait, a member of the group.

Less than a year later, kids have a new place to skate, and a safer place to play.

“Just look at all the kids around here. That’s what it means,” said Rob Larkey, another member of the group that worked to save the rink. “They’ve got a place to go, they got a place to hang out, they got a place to develop themselves as a hockey player, or just to skate.”

The work on this rink is finished, but the job is not done for members of Save the Bayshore Rink. They say they have their eyes set on restoring two to three other rinks around the area. Volunteers did not say which rinks they could work on next, but they could start in August.

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