After a roller coaster of a year, the Santa Clarita Valley’s skating community once again took to the ice to celebrate the grand opening of The Cube, the city of Santa Clarita’s newly rebranded ice rink.
Following the announcement from former owners that the rink would shut its doors permanently last March after 20 years in business, the SCV skating community rallied together to “Save the Rink.”
After thousands of residents contacted the City Council, pleading for them to save the rink, and a city study found that the rink was actually the city’s second most used venue — ahead of the city’s parks, libraries and community centers — the purchase of the rink felt necessary, Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda said.
It’s exactly that grassroots movement that Miranda credited to inspiring the city to do just that, with the $14.49 million purchase of the 93,000-square-foot building and the assets.
“We would not be here if it wasn’t for the passion, the commitment and the grassroots movement of all the people here and more beyond here that said, ‘We can’t let this stand, we can’t let the Ice Station go away. We have to do everything we can to save it and keep it a great place for all families to come and enjoy,’” Miranda said.
Luc Robitaille, president of the Los Angeles Kings, applauded the city for saving the rink and the opportunities it presents for local skaters.
“This is for you guys,” Robitaille said to the skaters gathered at the rink’s grand opening. “This is for you, boys and girls, for you to have a chance to skate.”
Robitaille compared hockey and the values the sport’s team play instills to that of a family, noting that the rink’s reopening would allow these values to continue being imparted to the SCV’s youth.
“Growing up in California, it meant a lot to have good places to play, so I’m happy to see the opening of The CUBE and a new home for the next generation of future Kings — it’s important for the young people and all the future hockey players out there that want to want to grow the game in California,” Kings player Trevor Moore, who was born in Thousand Oaks, added in a video message compiled for the opening.
Nick Nickson, longtime SCV resident and radio announcer for the Kings, also appeared in the video, calling it a great day for Santa Clarita. “The ice is back here in our valley.”
The Kings and the team’s partner, American Sports Entertainment Co., were awarded a five-year contract to manage the rink by the city, a partnership all parties agreed will be beneficial to the rink’s success.
Since the city’s acquisition, the rink has undergone repairs and renovations, including new paint, new ice and even an LCD screen out front, which were unveiled to the public Monday, followed by the rink’s first hockey game in more than a year, and a figure skating showcase.
Dozens of skaters gathered at the rink, eager to reenter what many consider their “second home.”
“I pretty much grew up here, so it’s really exciting to have my second home come back to the community,” figure skater Brooke Tripp said. “It’s always been such a great community in the rink itself, so we’re excited.”
For West Ranch High School hockey player Patrick Dunleavy, who moved to Santa Clarita from Florida, the rink quickly became his new home and helped with the transition.
“This rink has made a huge impact. It’s been my home where I’ve met a lot of my closest friends,” Dunleavy added.
West Ranch hockey player Dylan Angus said having a local rink made a huge impact on his hockey career.
“It’s been a big part of my life, growing up here and playing hockey,” he added.
Figure skater Courtney Brewster has been skating at the rink since she was 8 and became a full-time staff coach at 17, so she, too, called the rink her home.
“I’ve been on both sides — I lost my home and my little kids lost their home,” Brewster said. “It taught the little ones they have a voice and they can fight to save something if they really love it. It felt like a great teaching moment.”
“It took a community effort to save it for us older (generation) and the kids,” she said, “so it was a full-circle kind of moment, and it’s really super exciting for everyone.”