THE RINKS-Poway ICE celebrates grand re-opening to rave reviews
The San Diego Gulls and the Anaheim Ducks introduced a familiar facility with a brand-new name as on Sept. 1, the Ducks announced the addition of THE RINKS-Poway ICE to the association’s development program.
Formerly known as Poway Ice Arena, Poway ICE is the official practice facility of the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Gulls and became THE RINKS’ first facility in San Diego County. Two months later, on Dec. 2, the newly-named facility hosted its grand re-opening event as over 300 fans of all ages got autographs from Gulls players, skated for free on the Gulls practice ice, took part in a “Learn to Play Hockey” class (ages 4-12) and got a tour through the Gulls locker room.
When asked about what it meant to have new ownership at their practice facility and to talk about the future of the facility itself, Matt Savant, president of business operations for the San Gulls said, “It’s good to grow the game and also have quality ice and quality facilities for our kids to come and play and learn this growing sport of hockey.
“This facility is going to be a place for the community to gather and enjoy themselves. Hopefully, we will be seeing these kids out here today out on the Gulls ice in 10-15 years.”
Amber Willis, marketing coordinator for THE RINKS, echoed the same testament of that of Savant.
“THE RINKS are excited to establish themselves in the San Diego community,” Willis said. “In the past, we have partnered with multiple facilities and started the San Diego Gulls ‘Learn to Play’ program as a means to spread the sport of ice hockey to the community. With the addition of Poway ICE, not only can we further entrench our brand in this community, we can also further grow the sport of hockey and other ice sporting events to this area that clearly demands it.”
The grand re-opening event itself made it very clear on why the Gulls lead the AHL in average attendance per game, as fans arrived early just to get in line for autographs from their favorite Gulls players. After the player signing session, fans made their way over to the Gulls locker room for their first ever look into what is considered a state-of-the art-facility for most NHL teams. Once all the behind-the-scene looks were over, the Gulls players made appearances during the event’s free public skating session and helped welcome over 60 new skaters during a session of the ‘Learn to Play Hockey’ class.
“It was fun to see all these enthusiastic kids come out and want to learn how to play hockey and want to hear everything about it,” said Gulls defenseman Marcus Pettersson. “We have a great facility here in Poway and it’s great to show it off to the fans and have them come visit us for a day.”
“Overall, you will see an improvement not only in the facility itself, but in the programming that we offer here,” added Willis. “We look forward to not only replicating the successful programs that we offer already in our Orange County market, such as learn to skate, homeschool programs, public skating session and the ‘Learn to Play Hockey’ programs, but also to continue maintaining and growing the synergy between THE RINKS and Gulls in the community.
“With this facility and the Great Park Sports Complex coming in 2018, it will be exciting to see the growth of hockey in the Southern California community in the upcoming years.”
For more information on THE RINKS–Poway ICE and updates on all the upcoming changes, visit www.therinks.com. Also visit www.sandiegogulls.com/learntoplay for more information on how to get your child started playing hockey in the San Diego market for free.
— THE RINKS Staff
(Dec. 20, 2017)