Riverhead and Peconic Wildcats get a new arena. Newsday TV's Drew Scott reports. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Jake Hutchinson's parents have logged many miles getting from their family's Shoreham home to a Freeport rink since the 14-year-old started playing ice hockey in 2017.

“It was an hour and 10 minutes three times a week to get him on the ice to learn the game,” his father, Ryan Hutchinson, said of all the driving.

Now they have a rink 10 minutes from home. 

The Peconic Hockey Foundation’s Ed Westfall Arena at Peconic Ice Rinks opened Friday at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton, fulfilling a plan for the NHL-size rink that was years in the making.

Last week, Jake got a chance to practice there with his travel team, the Peconic Wildcats, and said he’s looking forward to spending more time on the ice.

“It was incredible,” he said of the new facility. “It opens up more opportunities for clinics and practices, so it’s beneficial.”

Officials said a public-private partnership between the nonprofit hockey foundation and the Town of Riverhead that made the facility a reality will help grow the sport on the East End.

A ribbon cutting Saturday at the rink drew hockey fans, New York Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky and former Islanders players, including Ed Westfall, the NHL team’s first captain and the new Calverton rink's namesake.

The addition of the $2.3 million  rink on the town property has increased recreation options there that include ballfields, pickleball courts, a dog park and 9½-mile bike trail.

Town of Riverhead officials said they're aiming to develop the Calverton park even further.

The state recently awarded Riverhead a $30,000 grant to fund a study about the future of existing runways on the property that have been used for drag racing events in recent years and about the possibility of expanding the site to include a permanent hockey building and soccer fields.

The rink is under a 125-foot by 225-foot inflatable dome on a 1½-acre portion of the Riverhead Town property. Peconic Hockey Foundation will maintain the facility under a 15-year agreement the town approved last year that includes options to extend the contract through 2047.

The agreement includes the foundation donating the rink to the town.

Peconic Hockey Foundation raised funds to construct the facility through community and corporate donors that included the New York Islanders and Riverhead Building Supply, according to Caryn Albert, who with her husband, Troy Albert, founded the nonprofit in 2015.

Raising the dome and getting the ice ready was an effort largely done by volunteers, she said. Inside the new rink, there's a skate rental area, locker rooms, a pro shop and an area for birthday parties.

Facility skating and service director Kim Interdonato said work on an outdoor rink, which will have a seating area and fire pits, is expected to begin in December.

“It’s going to be like a winter wonderland out here,” she said.

In addition to hockey clinics, games and tournaments, figure skating and open skate sessions will be held at the facility. Under the agreement with Riverhead, town residents will get a 25% discount at the facility.

Riverhead Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne said future town programming there could include broomball and curling.

Coyne said residents for years have advocated for a new ice rink. A decade ago, the town put up a seasonal outdoor rink at Stotzky Memorial Park, but it wasn’t sustainable because of fluctuations in temperature, according to Coyne.

“It was very popular,” he said. “The weather just wouldn’t cooperate every year.”

Council member Ken Rothwell said in an interview the new rink could boost tourism since hockey players and their families often travel from out of state for tournaments.

“We are building a recreation Mecca in Calverton and it’s becoming a destination,” Rothwell said.

One of Peconic Hockey Foundation’s goals is to grow ice hockey in eastern Long Island. Since its start, the nonprofit has grown from having one club travel team to 12, with teams for boys and girls between 7 and 18, according to Caryn Albert.

She said that without a rink of their own, the club's teams had traveled all over Long Island to play. 

Jack Greig, the nonprofit's director of hockey operations, said he's looking forward to introducing hockey to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play.

“Skating is one of those things that just gets you, holds on to you," he said. "It’s a passion, not a hobby."

Jake Hutchinson's parents have logged many miles getting from their family's Shoreham home to a Freeport rink since the 14-year-old started playing ice hockey in 2017.

“It was an hour and 10 minutes three times a week to get him on the ice to learn the game,” his father, Ryan Hutchinson, said of all the driving.

Now they have a rink 10 minutes from home. 

The Peconic Hockey Foundation’s Ed Westfall Arena at Peconic Ice Rinks opened Friday at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton, fulfilling a plan for the NHL-size rink that was years in the making.

NEW HOCKEY HUB OUT EAST 

  • A new $2.3 million rink in Calverton is open to the public.
  • The rink is inside a 125-foot by 225-foot inflatable dome.
  • It’s the only NHL-size rink east of Exit 58 on the Long Island Expressway.
  • Go to www.peconicicerinks.com for more information.

Last week, Jake got a chance to practice there with his travel team, the Peconic Wildcats, and said he’s looking forward to spending more time on the ice.

“It was incredible,” he said of the new facility. “It opens up more opportunities for clinics and practices, so it’s beneficial.”

Officials said a public-private partnership between the nonprofit hockey foundation and the Town of Riverhead that made the facility a reality will help grow the sport on the East End.

A ribbon cutting Saturday at the rink drew hockey fans, New York Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky and former Islanders players, including Ed Westfall, the NHL team’s first captain and the new Calverton rink's namesake.

The addition of the $2.3 million  rink on the town property has increased recreation options there that include ballfields, pickleball courts, a dog park and 9½-mile bike trail.

Town of Riverhead officials said they're aiming to develop the Calverton park even further.

The state recently awarded Riverhead a $30,000 grant to fund a study about the future of existing runways on the property that have been used for drag racing events in recent years and about the possibility of expanding the site to include a permanent hockey building and soccer fields.

The rink is under a 125-foot by 225-foot inflatable dome on a 1½-acre portion of the Riverhead Town property. Peconic Hockey Foundation will maintain the facility under a 15-year agreement the town approved last year that includes options to extend the contract through 2047.

Coach Mike Kessler, left, and members of the Peconic Wildcats...

Coach Mike Kessler, left, and members of the Peconic Wildcats 8U Mite Division practice on their home ice for the first time Saturday in Calverton. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

The agreement includes the foundation donating the rink to the town.

Peconic Hockey Foundation raised funds to construct the facility through community and corporate donors that included the New York Islanders and Riverhead Building Supply, according to Caryn Albert, who with her husband, Troy Albert, founded the nonprofit in 2015.

Raising the dome and getting the ice ready was an effort largely done by volunteers, she said. Inside the new rink, there's a skate rental area, locker rooms, a pro shop and an area for birthday parties.

Facility skating and service director Kim Interdonato said work on an outdoor rink, which will have a seating area and fire pits, is expected to begin in December.

“It’s going to be like a winter wonderland out here,” she said.

In addition to hockey clinics, games and tournaments, figure skating and open skate sessions will be held at the facility. Under the agreement with Riverhead, town residents will get a 25% discount at the facility.

Riverhead Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne said future town programming there could include broomball and curling.

Coyne said residents for years have advocated for a new ice rink. A decade ago, the town put up a seasonal outdoor rink at Stotzky Memorial Park, but it wasn’t sustainable because of fluctuations in temperature, according to Coyne.

“It was very popular,” he said. “The weather just wouldn’t cooperate every year.”

Council member Ken Rothwell said in an interview the new rink could boost tourism since hockey players and their families often travel from out of state for tournaments.

“We are building a recreation Mecca in Calverton and it’s becoming a destination,” Rothwell said.

One of Peconic Hockey Foundation’s goals is to grow ice hockey in eastern Long Island. Since its start, the nonprofit has grown from having one club travel team to 12, with teams for boys and girls between 7 and 18, according to Caryn Albert.

She said that without a rink of their own, the club's teams had traveled all over Long Island to play. 

Jack Greig, the nonprofit's director of hockey operations, said he's looking forward to introducing hockey to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play.

“Skating is one of those things that just gets you, holds on to you," he said. "It’s a passion, not a hobby."

Suffolk Ramadan security … Shootings down, larcenies down … Maple sugaring Credit: Newsday

Charges in Hempstead homicide ... NYC congestion pricing ... Wyandanch library custodian fired ... Yankees spring training 

Suffolk Ramadan security … Shootings down, larcenies down … Maple sugaring Credit: Newsday

Charges in Hempstead homicide ... NYC congestion pricing ... Wyandanch library custodian fired ... Yankees spring training 

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