Home Ice president Kevin Wright said he envisions the rink as a hockey training facility for young children in the area, who will then go on to play for the Eastchester-Bronxville-Tuckahoe high school hockey team.
“The idea is to start teaching young kids as early as three or four how to skate,” Wright said. “Then we can teach kids from six to 10 how to play hockey. We hope they will work through our system as they get older, and it’s those kids that we envision playing at the high school level.”
The approved ice rink comes at a time when the EBT hockey team is struggling to attract players and field a full team. EBT head coach Mike Rosabella said this is a problem he faces every year.
Rosabella said, typically, teams have between 22 to 24 players, but his roster only has 19 players, which is now down to 17 because two players are out with concussions.
Still, the coach is optimistic about the team’s future with the new ice rink on the way.
“The interest in hockey is growing, especially in Westchester,” Rosabella said. “But there was no place to learn to skate and learn to play hockey around here. Now, with this rink in Tuckahoe and Eastchester, more kids will be able to learn how to skate and that will help develop more players for the EBT hockey team.”
According to the proposal, the ice rink will be small—only 60 feet by 100 feet, which is approximately one-third the size of a regulation rink—so it’s intended for youth hockey training purposes as well as figure skating and children’s skating lessons.
Wright said adults will be able to rent ice time for three-on-three hockey competitions as well, but the children will have preferential times.
In addition to the ice rink, a 28-foot by 40-foot ice pad will be built for one-on-one goalie and shooting training sessions.
Rosabella’s vision of bringing excitement about hockey to the area is one that Wright shares.
“I love hockey. I think it’s the greatest sport in the world,” Wright said. “I want to provide a place for local kids to practice and learn to play the sport.”
Wright said 200 Marbledale Road was a perfect area for the ice rink and wants to “focus on the home aspect of Home Ice” by turning it into a community rink through offering discounts to Eastchester and Tuckahoe residents.
“We’re giving the town’s hockey team two free hours of ice time a week during the season, and the school will get preferential treatment as far as ice time,” Wright said. “All Eastchester and Tuckahoe residents will get a discount.”
Wright said the search for a location began two and half years ago and, in spring 2012, he decided the site on Marbledale Road, which is currently an abandoned warehouse, was the perfect place to build a studio ice rink.
He said there’s a market for rink time in the area; the surrounding area is densely populated and is sandwiched between the Hutchinson River and Bronx River parkways, which will attract young hockey players from Scarsdale and New Rochelle as well.
But, because the property bisects the Tuckahoe and Eastchester border, Home Ice had to be approved by four boards—the Tuckahoe and Eastchester zoning boards as well as the Tuckahoe and Eastchester planning boards.
The only reservations the boards had were parking and noise, both of which were addressed.
A parking study conducted by consulting firm BFJ Planning said, during peak hours of 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., there needs to be a minimum of 20 parking spots on site, which is 10 spaces more than the current site holds. But the study identified 73 off-site parking spots to supplement the missing parking spots, and variances were granted by both Tuckahoe and Eastchester.
Noise from the chiller, which is a machine built outside of the rink that cools the ice when it heats to a certain temperature, was the other concern raised by the planning boards.
Home Ice LLC’s hired architect David Barbuti, said the noise from the chiller was reviewed by HMB Acoustics, a company that specializes in acoustic engineering and consulting, and said it was below sound ordinances for both Eastchester and Tuckahoe. As an extra preventative measure, Barbuti said a noise-proof net will enclose the chiller.
Now that all four boards approved the proposal, construction can begin, which Wright said he hopes to commence early next year. Wright is yet to hire an outside contractor to perform the work.
He said he wants to finish construction by March, but, more realistically, the construction will be completed by April. Either way the rink should be ready for the 2014 hockey season, which starts in December and ends in early March.