Ice Hockey in Harlem Thursday will get the best gift that the organization could receive this holiday season: Its home rink back.
New York City’s Parks Department announced Wednesday that Central Park’s Lasker Rink, initially thought to be shut down for most of the winter because a major problem with its refrigeration system, will reopen on Thanksgiving Day.
“We want to sincerely thank everyone within the hockey community who came together on our behalf,” IHIH Executive Director John Sanful said. “It was a positive response, unlike any I’ve personally seen in some time. We are really looking forward to resuming our season again at Lasker Rink.”
The waiting is over! Ice Hockey in Harlem will return to its repaired rink next week.
Parks Department officials said all hockey games, practices and skating lessons at the Harlem rink are scheduled to resume on Monday. Since the rink abruptly shut down on Nov. 14, Sanful and IHIH officials have been trying to determine where the program’s 240-plus kids would skate and play during the 2014-15 season.
But IHIH’s worries ended when the parks department, which runs the rink with the Trump Organization and the community, managed to speed up the repairs to the rink’s valves and concrete slab.
“We are thrilled to welcome back Lasker Rink for this winter season,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “The rink is a beloved neighborhood destination during the winter months, and it offers a fun and exciting way to stay active and enjoy the cold weather. I applaud all of the NYC Parks employees who worked diligently to make the needed repairs.”
Hockey and Ice Hockey in Harlem return to Lasker Rink next week.
When Lasker’s availability for the season was in doubt, the hockey community in New York and beyond the city limits offered to help IHIH, one of the nation’s oldest minority-oriented youth hockey programs.
The New York Rangers said IHIH could use of its practice facility, the MSG Training Center, in Greenburgh, N.Y., and promised to help in shuttle the kids the 28 miles from the city to the suburban rink.
IHIH players can’t wait to return to the ice next week.
“We cannot thank (Madison Square Garden Company Executive Chairman James) Dolan and (Rangers President and General Manager Glen) Sather enough for their support in our time of need,” Sanful said.
Ice skating rinks in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and even Rhode Island called with offers of ice time or games for IHIH players.
“This clearly demonstrated that Ice Hockey in Harlem has friends and supporters who care about hockey and that children, no matter who they are, should be able to play this beautiful game,” Sanful said.