May/June 2017

Issue link: https://read.uberflip.com/i/819246

Contents of this Issue


Page 53 of 55

54 / MAY.JUNE.2017 USICERINKS.COM CEnter ice Q&A with a rink professional PHOTOS: COURTESY OF U.S. ICE RINKS // How did you get your start? I grew up on the ponds in Rhode Island and fell in love with skating and ice hock- ey. I moved indoors for the first time at the age of 12. I played high school hockey at La Salle in Providence. R.I., and played my college hockey at the University of Connecticut. I moved to Pennsylvania in 1977 as a manufacturer's rep covering Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania I started out as a vol- unteer coach in 1985 in an old iron mill structure in Lancaster. A group of volun- teers put an ice surface inside, led by a guy I consider the father of youth hockey in Lancaster, Ron Kenard. Ron, now in his 70s, and I still play pickup hockey with a group of men that have been skating together for more than 30 years. I became the hockey director for the youth organization in 1986. We started with a group of about 30 kids—nine years later we had more than 400. Outgrowing the old mill, we built a brand new single- sheet facility and opened in 1994. To meet the bank loan needs for the new facility, a small group of us bought all the old equip- ment from the mill and stored it with the hopes of finding another large clear-span building to house a practice sheet to sup- port the new rink. Unable to secure a suit- able site, and with the popularity of skating continuing to grow in the new facility, these investors had the opportunity to purchase a small piece of land on the other side of town. There we built my current single-sheet facility, Regency Sports Rink, and opened in 1995 (I guess you can say we blindly took the plunge). In 2001, we agreed to consult on a new twin-sheet rink project in an adjacent town 25 miles away and managed it for a year in addition to operating our own rink. Shortly after, I started to get involved with USA Hockey at the national and affiliate levels and have done so for the past 15 years. // What's the best part about being a rink owner? Owning and having access to a sheet of ice year-round, and continuing to skate and play at 65, is a good feeling. A better feel- ing is giving the opportunity for so many others to enjoy ice skating as well. // What is the biggest misconception about this gig? It looks easier than it is! However, with the proper education and networking, most problems can be handled effectively. The biggest misconception I see though is actually with the participant groups and the constant push to the top. Early spe- cialization and the aspiration to "be the best" is being promoted at very early ages and at all levels—which is misguided in my opinion. This is contributing greatly to the expense and time investment that is expected of participants. The definition of success, and the meth- ods to achieve it (promoted more and more by paid coaches that are required to produce results to justify their income) are depriving many people of the lifetime joy of participating in ice sports. The unreal- istic expectations results in many young people feeling unsuccessful, resulting in them moving away from ice skating sports after their competitive years. This is dis- couraging to me. We are defining success in ways that are only achievable by a small group of participants. This is happening across the youth sports spectrum. Early specializa- tion is depriving many of multiple sport participation and the benefits. A lifetime of potential enjoyment, after the competitive years is lost for many, as a result. // What's the best advice you've ever received? If you believe in it, go for it! // What's the best advice you've ever given? Give back more than you take and treat everyone with the respect they deserve. J Ray Ferry Lancaster, Pa. OWNING AND HAVING ACCESS TO A SHEET OF ICE YEAR-ROUND, AND CONTINUING TO SKATE AND PLAY AT 65, IS A GOOD FEELING. A BETTER FEELING IS GIVING THE OPPORTUNITY FOR SO MANY OTHERS TO ENJOY ICE SKATING AS WELL. RAY FERRY President - U.S. Ice Rink Association Owner of Regency Sports Rink Professional Designation: CIRM Years in the Industry: 22

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Rink - May/June 2017