September/October 2020

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WHEN CHAPARRAL ICE FIRST OPENED IN AUSTIN , Texas in the mid-1990s, the original own- ers were simply looking to have a place where their daughter could practice figure skating. Afterall, ice used to be hard to come by in the Lonestar state. Now, Chaparral Ice is adding a second location to meet the needs of not only fig- ure skaters, but hockey and every ice sport in between in Texas' capital city. Forging forward Chaparral Ice originally opened in 1996 in the backend of the Northcross mall. Previous to its opening, families from the Austin area would travel roughly one hour to San Antonio in order to find ice. The facility eventually grew to house three sheets, but the owners at the time had lost interest and sold off two of the sheets in 2010. The loss of two sheets came despite an overall increase in interest in the Austin area in hockey and figure skating, forc- ing the city to function and accommodate on the single sheet. That single sheet alone was home to a number of programs, including the Texas Stars, a minor league hockey team, and the University of Texas club hockey team. They also hosted a slew of other events such as public skates, figure skating along with parties and events. "Looking at Chaparral as a coach or customer, you could tell they were patch- ing it together," current owner Ryan Raya said. "Growing up in Massachusetts, I knew a rink run properly could be quite profitable and succeed." Taking things into his own hands In 2013, Raya, a Massachusetts native, had become fully immersed in the hockey world in Austin. He had worked in a num- 20 / SEPTEMBER.OCTOBER.2020 USICERINKS.COM PHOTOS: CHAPARRAL ICE With a rising interest in ice sports in Texas, Chaparral Ice is expanding its reach // by RYAN WILLIAMSON ICY KEEPING AUSTIN Featured Rink Chaparral Ice | | Austin, Texas

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