The Winthrop Rink — previously known as the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink — will be open for skaters beginning this Friday (Nov. 18), weather permitting, delivering on the delayed promise of permanent ice-making equipment that will greatly extend the facility’s season.
An official grand opening at the rink is scheduled for Dec. 1.
The first skating of the 2016-17 season will be an open session beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday. There will also be a night skating session beginning at 6:30 p.m. with half-price admission for all.
The rink’s regular daily schedule starts Saturday with open hockey for experienced players. For the rink’s schedule and complete information about prices and rentals, visit www.winthropicerink.com.
The grand opening event will be from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 1. Skating will be free and food will be available.
Crews began creating the new ice surface with the refrigeration equipment last week. Over the weekend, the lines for hockey play were painted on the surface.
The refrigeration equipment was expected to be installed and operational last year, but delays in delivery and installation made it impossible to open the rink with permanent ice. Instead, the rink made ice the way it always has in the past, by flooding the surface area with water and waiting for it to freeze.
That, of course, was entirely dependent on the weather.
The rink opened on Christmas Day 2015, but closed about a month later because warming weather conditions made the ice unstable.
The 2016-17 season is expected to last until about the middle of next March.
The rink will host several youth and adult hockey tournaments, starting in December.
Renovations to the rink’s main building were completed last year, and include more and larger changing rooms, more restrooms, an expanded rental area (including concessions) and larger viewing rooms on the second floor. The rooms can be rented for events.
The rink’s new concrete surface was used for roller skating last summer.