Smithfield ice rink ready for chilly summer fun

Smithfield ice rink ready for chilly summer fun

Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink's six-week construction project has come to an end, with a fresh coat of paint and new ice and boards to show for it. Earlier this week, Smithfield resident Kyle Boyle drives a Zamboni over the newly-painted town shield at center ice in between a league hockey game and public skating time. (Valley Breeze & Observer photo by Meghan Kavanaugh)

SMITHFIELD - Summer skating has begun now that the Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink's facility overhaul is complete.

Hockey players can skate on new ice and slam into brand new boards. Their fans can cheer for them from newly painted yellow and green bleachers, overlooking the fresh center ice painting of the town's shield.

T.J. Tullie, parks and recreation director and manager of the ice rink, said the $175,000 project was completed on schedule after six weeks of work.

The new ice - created by freezing a thin sheet of water on the concrete slab, painting it, and adding additional layers of water over four days until thickness reaches 1.5 inches, he explained - still needs to be skated on a bit to break it in.

That should not be a problem, Tullie said, with summer leagues, clinics and public skating hours already starting up.

"Everybody's happy," he said.

Rob Simons, a Smithfield resident and rink maintenance employee, said the new ice is noticeably better than the last surface, which had not been replaced since 1999.

"It's more level," Simons said.

Those wanting to check it out for themselves should lace up for one of the following public skating events:

* Public free style skating is held Mondays from 2 to 4 p.m. Cost is $6 for a half-hour, $12 for one hour, or $20 for two hours.

* The public can also enjoy skating on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. Admission costs $3, and skate rentals cost $5.

* Public hockey is held Mondays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, and free for goalies. Full equipment is required.