Greenport Skating Rink open for the season

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Hockey players at the Greenport Skating Rink in Mitchell Park.

It’s time to lace up your skates again.

The Greenport Skating Rink at Mitchell Park is open until 7 p.m. tonight, two hours later than usual hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We opened for the season on Monday and on Friday nights we have discounted admissions and rentals at half-price,” said rink GM Mike Ryan. “Right now we’ve got about a one-inch thick sheet of ice, which is perfect.”

Mr. Ryan said he and about a dozen volunteers worked in shifts to get the ice in shape for the opening of the skating season Monday, starting the compressors on Dec. 17.

“It was the most difficult year I can remember to make the ice,” he said. “It’s a time-consuming and painstaking process; hours and hours and lots of volunteers to spray the surface. We sprayed down layers everyday from the 18th until Monday.”

Because the process involves laying down the ice layer by layer, instead of letting the space flood and freeze, volunteers spent their nights preparing the ice.

“One night we were up until 3 a.m.,” Mr. Ryan said.

Preparing ice isn’t the only night-time activity for ice rats like Mr. Ryan, who also plays hockey at the rink.

There are more than 90 local kids involved in youth hockey this year and about 82 who participate in group skating lessons on Saturday mornings.

“We’ll be going until the first week in March and we have hockey every night of the week except Saturday,” Mr. Ryan said.