Monday, December 22, 2008

Dozens of Peorians hit the ice

A fun article that appeared in my local paper. What a great way to celebrate the Holiday's! I also love when my local rink gets some press!

From the Peoria Journal Star by Rob Dale, Family Skate at Owens Recreational Center a chance for new tradition...

PEORIA — For about 15 years, Scott Buhl had not ventured onto the ice. On Sunday though, Buhl donned skates for the second time in a week, and he says he’s been going at it for about a month now.

What got him back in the rink? His 5-year-old daughter, Hailey.

“She sees the figure skaters on TV from time to time and wanted to try figure skating,” Buhl said. “So, you have to learn to skate first.

”The father and daughter were among dozens to take to the indoor ice rink Sunday at the Owens Recreation Center on Lake Avenue for its annual Family Holiday Skate event. The center encouraged families to come out and start a tradition of ice skating together before the holidays.

“It’s fun,” Buhl said of rediscovering the hobby. “It’s adventurous, falling down a lot.”

Toby Gualandri of Metamora also came to the rink with his kids, but it seemed he was the one taking lessons. “They do much better than I do — even my 5-year-old,” Gualandri joked, saying it was only about his fifth time trying the winter sport. “I try to keep my balance,” he added, “but it doesn’t always work.”

Others came to the rink Sunday to enjoy hockey games taking place in another adjacent rink.

Steele Seei came to watch his younger brother, of Richwoods High School, face off against the rival team. Seei said he’s been watching his brother play for years. “It’s fun to see him grow up and get better,” he said.

Kim Stoner, supervisor at the rink, said there are plenty of things to like about ice skating.

“It’s great exercise for one thing,” she said, adding “If you come with a group, it’s just a good time.”

Despite the frigid nature of the sport, temperatures inside the rink areas at Owens are about 45 to 50 degrees, a welcome change from the near-zero degree weather looming outside. Still, recent temperatures seem to have kept many at home, according to Stoner.

“I think the weather’s really had a big impact on people coming out,” she said, adding that the economic situation hasn’t had an impact because the rink hasn’t raised prices in several years.

The weekend after Christmas, Owens also will host its annual Snowball Hockey Tournament, where teams of players as young as four will hit the ice.

More information on skating at Owens can be found at the Peoria Park District Web site at

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