By Beth Dodd
The City of Victor is preparing for the opening of the town’s newly reconstructed ice skating rink at Brian’s Park at 4th St. and Spicer Ave. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for December 14 at 2:00 p.m. with a dedication honoring all those who have contributed to the project, followed by skating around the Christmas tree, a visit from Santa, door prizes, and a barbeque.
The Brian’s Park ice rink started out as a natural depression in an empty lot where water pooled and formed ice every winter. Brian Hayes, the namesake of the park and an avid hockey player from Wisconsin, began to change the pond into a hockey rink when his young son showed an interest. During the following years, volunteers used whatever materials they could find to build the boards and accessory buildings. An old Zamboni to groom the ice was purchased with the money collected from donations and fundraisers, and the Victor Penguin Hockey Club was started.
The ice skating rink was identified as a community asset in January of 2012 when Victor citizens began to write the town’s first Parks & Recreation Master Plan. After many years of use, it was apparent that the skating rink was sorely in need of upgrades. The City of Victor applied for a GOCO grant to refurbish and largely replace the rink, and received a generous $350,000 grant. The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine also donated $150,000 and approximately $65,000 was contributed by the city.
Construction on the project began in the spring of this year and was completed by Purgatoire Valley Construction. Between the generous funding and an overwhelming number of volunteer hours, the rink is now ready to open.
The new rink features a natural design that fits well into the mountain environment. A new warming hut with a woodstove and an outdoor fire pit will keep skaters and observers cozy, and the brand new ice rink has beautiful wooden boards and a shade screen system to shelter the ice from the heat of the sun. The original Zamboni remains and is thought to be the oldest one still in use in the United States.
Brian’s Park is free and open to the public. Adults can play pick-up hockey on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, and clinics for local children are scheduled throughout the season.
The re-opening on the Bryan’s Park Ice Rink follows the re-opening of the Gold Bowl earlier this year in July. The Gold Bowl’s athletic field was made larger and resurfaced with fresh top soil and new sod.