By Sarita Crandall, Contributing Writer
The ice rink at Hippach Field is an opportunity for the students and the community to gather for some free and fun winter activities. While the rink has been available for public skating and hockey nights in previous years, recent grant funding has made it possible, among other upgrades, to purchase a rink liner to improve the quality of the ice.
Hannah Emery, a junior at UMF, recently visited the rink for a hockey night. “The first time I went down I think it was on a Tuesday night,” Emery said, “I was a little nervous at first but the ice was great and it was a great environment to be in.”
The rink has lights that turn on close to dark making it convenient for night skating and hockey nights.
“I enjoy that the ice is kept up in good shape, the lights are always on and like I said it is in a great place in town, it’s easily accessible and open for anyone of all ages,” Emery said.
The Assistant Parks and Rec Director Seth Noonkester, UMF graduate of 2015, has been working hard writing grants to get funding for the rink. So far the REC has received the Walmart Community Grant for $1,000 in addition to a $7,000 grant from the Healthy Community Coalition.
It was with the help of these grants that the Recreation Department was able to replace old milk crates that helped younger kids learn how to skate with Skate Aids for better skating posture. They were also able to purchase ice skates, pucks, hockey sticks, and a new liner for the rink.
“Previous years we have always flooded over the grass, which is not efficient because any hot day the sun will melt layers of the ice and then when it cools again it causes shell ice. The liner helps us save on water as well.” Noonkester said.
Noonkester thinks that there are limited activities for college students to do in the wintertime but this is an activity that is less than a five-minute walk from campus.
Carly Raymond, a junior at UMF, said that her favorite part about the rink was the free rentals. “I think the free ice skate rental is pretty cool because a lot of my friends don’t have skates or they left them at home so you can just go and rent them for free.”
Raymond said she enjoyed not having to plan a time to go down and skate because it’s always open if the lights are on.
The rink offers public skating hours from 10:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. daily with warming hut hours on the weekends. Hockey nights are also available for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights only.
For more information on the ice rink visit the Farmington Parks and Recreation Department on Facebook.