Rink Closes With No Sure Plans to Reopen College Stops Paying Expenses
by Kathryn Antognini
a favorite gathering spot of students, townsfolk and the hockey
team, the Oberlin ice rink is now empty after a recent administrative
decision to cease funding the facility.
The College decided to close the rink upon learning that the Lorain
County Hockey Association (LCHA), who had leased the rink seven
years ago, owed roughly $80,000 to various utility companies. As
a result, the Oberlin ice hockey team is currently searching for
a new home.
Its truly a shame that the rink is closed this year.
I think a lot of people will miss the hockey team, sophomore
co-captain Chris Kelly said. The problem is just being brushed
under the rug by the administration and ignored for now, Kelly
The administration became involved with the ice rink a year and
a half ago after realizing the depth of its financial woes. After
the city put the association on a budget plan the issue seemed to
be settled. But two months ago, the administration learned that
even after the budget plan had been implemented, the association
had not paid any of its utility bills.
I did not hear from Lorain County that the association was
in debt, Vice President of Finance Andrew Evans said. According
to Evans, the College was taken aback when it received an $80,000
bill from the city, who assumed that the College was responsible
for LCHAs debt. Through legal transactions, the associations
lease with the College was quickly terminated and the ice rink was
In order to maintain the ice rink, the College would have had to
pay an additional $250,000 in repairs and funds the administration
was not willing to provide. Evans says the rink was in need of renovation
and upgrading because LCHAs maintenance of the rink had slipped
as the association fell into debt.
Sophomore Trish Hinrichs, who frequently skated at the rink, said
that although the ice was okay for public skating purposes,
it was in need of better care and equipment.
The College maintains that it had leased the rink to the association
in hopes that it would take over responsibilities and run the rink
in a way that showed their excitement about the sport.
Although LCHAs debt may have left the College with some messy
legal problems, Evans maintains that the administration appreciates
the associations effort. We were very happy to have
the association run the rink, he said.
Students reactions to the administrations handling of
the situation are mixed. Ice hockey co-captain Sarah Benjamin said
that although the closing of the rink disappointed her, she understands
that the school doesnt want the responsibility of running
Although Hinrichs said that she, ideally, would have tried to find
support for the rink in order to keep it open, she understands the
schools position. However, she does believe that providing
a place for student recreation and exercise would, ultimately, be
worth the cost.
hockey enthusiasts have voiced more outright criticism of the administration.
The administration has been very childish. They need to just
mature, make a decision and go on it, Kelly said. Kelly does
not think that selling the facility is a solution, rather he thinks
that the College is only prolonging the problem of supporting College
hockey. Now the team faces the difficulties of finding a new facility.
Many students attend Oberlin hockey games and team members fear
that if the team moves its base the appeal of attending games will
be lost. We are trying to find ice time at a nearby rink,
but we know that we wont have nearly the fan support there,
Although both Kelly and Benjamin express hope that the College may
reopen the rink eventually, such a development looks unlikely to
happen in the near future.
At this point there has been no discussion on the reopening
of the rink, Evans said.