Dear Editor:

I am submitting this letter in support of the Chaffee County Amateur Hockey Association and their efforts towards building a shaded, outdoor ice rink at Centennial Park for the winter of 2021-2022. 

For me personally as an athlete and parent, the opportunity to skate at Long Lake this winter was an unexpected and wonderful gift. Playing women’s pond hockey rekindled my love for a sport I’d thought I’d left behind, and being able to teach and skate with my children (who begged daily to go skating) was a delight. 

Winter recreation in Salida, especially with young children, is limited in normal times, but especially so this year with the pandemic. Finding a safe, family friendly activity in town was absolutely wonderful, and I have no doubt that the momentum started this winter will only grow with the establishment of more easily maintained and reliable ice.

I’m not alone. Here are some testimonials from my fellow skaters who have also been positively impacted by skating this winter. 

“This is the most fun I’ve had in years ... Can’t wait for a rink next year to extend the season!” – Hallie Mahowald.

“... A great way to meet other women around town.” – Catherine Brown. 

“Skating has improved our quality of life as a family by providing a winter sport that is easily accessible and fun for all ages.” – Sarah Nazzaro. 

“Skating has been a life saver for my family and me this winter. It’s so great to have easy, in-town recreation access.” – Dominique Naccarato. 

“It has been a wonderful community space ... Building community through playing together.” – Amy Moore. 

“Making a lot of great connections within our community all with my daughter participating.” – Kara Fanning. 

“...An opportunity to play outside safely with our family and friends.” – Jennie Foyle. 

“My young boys had been begging me to skate … would love to try the women’s hockey next season!” – Kate Falconer.

“Our family has learned a skill, played/been humbled/loved a new sport and met some amazing new friends.” – Amy Eckstein.

“Skating has gotten me outside more and connecting with more women in the community.” – Mary Jane Schmudlach.  

“Great exercise and I love helping teach basic skills to hockey and figure skaters of all ages.” – Pam Kelly.

“... I already feel like I’m becoming a part of the community.” – Rosie DiMatteo. 

“Hockey helps new people to the community meet others and feel welcomed to their new home.” – Kirsten Wulfsberg. 

“It was not only incredibly fun, it got me outside and trying something I’ve never done before.” – Lisa Ledwith.  

“Great way to get exercise and socialize at the same time. Loved it!” – Heidi Slaymaker. 

“It has been a godsend for our family as a way of being outside together having fun and learning new skills ...” – Denise Ackert.

Thank you for your time, consideration, and support in helping Chaffee County Amateur Hockey Association reach their goal of an operational, shaded, outdoor rink in Salida by Thanksgiving 2021. 

Jillian Bare

Salida