A nonprofit wants to bring a domed hockey rink to Riverhead with the idea of eventually setting up a permanent facility that could eventually become a “hockey hub” for eastern Long Island.
Peconic Hockey Foundation, based in Wading River, wants to place a dome over a field at Stotzky Memorial Park on Columbus Avenue to create a 200-foot-by-85-foot NHL-size ice hockey rink.
Troy Albert, president and founder of the foundation, told Newsday the group has seen the need for a full-size hockey rink on the East End and that Riverhead is an ideal location for one based on its tourism.
“Between the outlet mall, the restaurants, the hotels, it’s built for a place with a hockey rink,” Albert said. “This partnership with the town, for us, we want to bring a huge benefit. It’s not just for the kids that want to play hockey, or figure skating, it’s everything, whether it’s learning to skate or play hockey for adults or curling or local schools…that’s our goal, to bring the benefit to the community.”
The nonprofit is proposing a public-private partnership with Riverhead Town — the details of which are still being negotiated — whereby the town would provide the land for the rink while the nonprofit would provide the dome and other materials. The foundation hopes to have the rink ready by the fall, with the goal of eventually creating a larger and permanent year-round facility.
Ray Coyne, superintendent for the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, told Newsday that the proposal would work well with plans to re-envision the park into an area that offers more activities for residents.
“I’ve been here 16 years, and for the last decade I’ve had calls and emails asking if the town is ever going to get an ice rink,” Coyne said. “Greenport has one, Southampton has one…ice hockey has become a very popular sport, and there is nothing out here [in the Riverhead area] on the East End.”
The town attorney’s office is revising documents, including a memorandum of understanding for a partnership and a lease agreement with details on how the partnership benefits the community, according to Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar.
“We don’t have a lot of activities for our youth in Riverhead, and if this takes off, it could be great for our children,” Aguiar said. “It could be great for our schoolchildren, and there has been a demand.”