Rockaway hockey rink set for repair


| tcullen@queenscourier.com |

Photo courtesy of Mike Leahy
Photo courtesy of Mike Leahy

A Rockaway roller hockey rink is getting some help from the Parks Department after damage from Sandy nearly put a summer league on ice.

Waves pummeled the boards on the seaside rink near Beach 108th Street, which underwent renovations only a few years ago. The 20-year-old rink was not completely destroyed, but because the boards and other safety walls were gone, it poses a risk to younger players.

“The [asphalt] surface of the rink is okay,” said Rockies Hockey Commissioner Mike Leahy. “But I never would let a kid skate on there.”

Leahy said he’s been working with the Parks Department on getting the rink repaired in time for the summer league, which has players ranging in age from four to adult. But until recently he hadn’t heard much in terms of fixing the rink.

In the next week, however, he’ll meet with a Parks official to discuss how to fix the rink for this summer and improve it for the long run, said both Leahy and a Parks spokesperson.

Damage to the rink was one of several public facility casualties between Beach 87th and 108th Streets, according to the Parks spokesperson. There are no immediate plans to rebuild any of those amenities, the rep said.

Originally, Leahy said, Parks told him he’d have to raise money for repairs himself if he wanted the league to start rolling this summer.

“Up until this point we’ve been in limbo,” he said, adding Parks told him about three weeks ago that “we could make any repairs we could do.”

The league commissioner called Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s office to seek help after the talks seemed to go nowhere. Ulrich, who before the storm had set aside $300,000 to completely refurbish the rink, was able to arrange for Leahy to work directly with Parks officials.

Leahy said he’s happy to start somewhere in discussions, and has high hopes in the meantime that players of all ages will be dropping puck soon.

“I’m going up the ladder,” he said, “and they’re being thoughtful. So far I’m happy. I’m always optimistic until I hear otherwise.”

 

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