Station #3 rink attracts local kids for pick-up hockey
Though below-freezing temperatures have been hard to come by this winter, kids in Pelham’s north end have been able to make the most of them thanks to the hard work and commitment of the volunteer firefighters at Station#3 who have constructed an outdoor skating rink near their firehouse in North Pelham.
The project was spearheaded by volunteer firefighter Shawn Litalien who wanted to give youth in the area a place to play outdoor hockey. With an unusually warm winter and erratic temperatures, ponds that would normally be safe to skate on have alternated between being completely unfrozen and dangerously thin. According to Shawn, the rink provides a safe alternative.
“This is only eight inches deep, so worse-case scenario they get a wet foot.”
While the rink this year has spent about as much time thawed out as it has frozen, it’s been a popular spot when the weather cooperates.
“During the day and all night long there’s anywhere from 6 to 25 kids out here,” Shawn said. “Word has really travelled, which is good to see.”
Shawn has also been pleased with the community response: “Everyone has been supporting us. For example, Levans Farm and Forestry came out and he donated all his time and equipment. Guys have come by and dropped off shovels for the rink. It’s been excellent, nothing’s gone missing, or any damage or anything.”
And though Shawn himself deftly avoids taking credit, fellow firefighters like Frank Mauro are quick to give him the praise he deserves: “Shawn has taken the reins for this whole project; from fundraising, to building a mini Zamboni, to countless nights after work flooding the rink.”
For Shawn, a father of two, the reward is watching kids have fun on the ice. He recounted a moment earlier in the season when his youngest son’s team played a friendly game on the rink against a club from San Jose, California.
“Those kids got to skate outside for the first time in their lives. That was pretty special, one parent was crying because they had thought that their kids would never get that opportunity.”
If there are any Pelham residents who have yet to skate outdoors, or if you’re a seasoned outdoor veteran, the rink will remain open any time that it’s frozen. The firefighters do ask that skaters remove the nets when they are done, and unplug any rink lights that have been left on.