MISSOULA – Although it’s still summer, many folks are ready to get back out on the ice. Glacier Ice Rink is officially open for the season and Friday night they held the inaugural first opening day party.
“So this is the first kickoff we’ve ever done in Glacier Ice Rink’s history if you will. It’s been over 20 years since the facilities been here and the community supported it, so this event is not about the fundraising. “It’s about creating energy and enthusiasm kicking off the programs for the fall and the winter season,” said Glacier Ice board member Clarence Wildeboer. “It’s about community so you see kids and adults all blending together and having a good time.”
The ice sports community is a tight-knit community that makes it unique compared to other sports.
“It’s amazing. It’s something that I’ve never seen before — at least in youth athletics quite like this — where everybody knows each other,” said Big sky Brewing owner and hockey parent Kris Nabozney. “Very tight. They do things for each other that I have not seen people do for each other in quite some time. We like to be a part of that because it’s about community and it’s about fun.”
While the night was about connecting the ice sports community part of the night was also for fundraising. Since Glacier Ice is a non-profit, all the money raised goes back to youth and adult athletics with an emphasis on youth.
“It’s our mission statement creating players and fans for life. Maybe our players are our youth and our fans are adults. We are privileged to have players both from the youth and the adult group but it’s about the kids,” Wildeboer said. “It really is about the kids as Glacier Ice. We want guys like this to stay on the ice forever if they can.”
One thing the rink is raising funds for is a new Zamboni which hockey player Benny Peo says they can really use. “I get to help my teammates buy a new Zamboni. If we got a new Zamboni we would get to play more.”
Benny could also use some more teammates and he has a suggestion for anyone who wants to play hockey, “ask your mom and dad to bring you to hockey.”
Reporting by Connor McCauley for MTN News