|The Ironbound Recreation Center in Newark has been renovated to provide the city’s youth hockey players with a home (Photo/Facebook/Hockey In Newark). |
Since 2003, the Hockey In Newark
program has enlightened Newark children about the game of hockey, with more and more children signing up to play each year.
Now with over 200 Newark children skating in the program, Newark Councilman Augusto Amador
has stepped up to help get the Ironbound Recreation Center renovated. By being a strong proponent of providing funding to the program, Amador was able to secure funding to help the program have a home.
|The Ironbound Arena underwent extensive renovations, and is scheduled to reopen December 1st (Photo/Facebook/Hockey In Newark). |
“We were able to get the City of Newark to sign an agreement with Hockey In Newark
for the utilization of the hockey rink, for the [recreation] center. This is a first for the city,” Amador says.
“It was a very pleasant surprise for me, to recognize that the program was going to be as successful as it is now,” Amador continues. “We began with about 40 to 50 kids about four to five years ago. Now, not only the entire community if aware of the program, but also the city of Newark is aware of the program, and it’s gone beyond not only the city of Newark, but into the state of New Jersey.”
The rink was first scheduled to reopen on October 13th, but was rescheduled due to a problem with the rink’s ice-making system. It was then scheduled to be reopened on November 3rd, but damage from Hurricane Sandy forced an additional postponement. In the meantime, Devils Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek
offered his help, allowing the program to use the ice at Prudential Center to gear up for the upcoming season.
“We’re very committed to this program,” Vanderbeek tells the Star-Ledger
, adding that “It’s also making sure for [children] that there’s something they can do with their idle time.”
“I felt terrific [getting involved with Hockey In Newark] because it makes available another avenue for the community to use to play sports, specifically hockey.” - Augusto Amador
Having the rink to utilize on a regular basis provides a home for the kids in the program.
“We mentioned how we play our homes games at AmeriHealth Pavilion
, it’s state of the art, it’s gorgeous,” says Dennis Ruppe, co-founder of the Hockey In Newark
program, “but our kids look forward to playing games down at the Ironbound, because that’s home to them. Even though AmeriHealth Pavilion is a beautiful facility, The Ironbound is home to them; it’s the place they run to every day after school.”
Keith Veltre, Ruppe’s partner in founding the program, believes the Ironbound rink has become more than just a rink to those involved with the team, but rather a home. “One of our players was named Essex County Player of the Week, and they asked what is his favorite rink, and he puts the Ironbound Recreation Center, which is telling,” Veltre explains. “This is a home away from home for these kids. It’s even a home away from home for the coaches.”
Part of becoming such a strong supporter of the program was what Councilman Amador saw in hockey, and what in can provide to children.
“Hockey has become an outlet for kids to dream higher, and really become serious about their own lives, and hockey is a big part of it.”
The Ironbound Recreation Center will now be officially reopened on December 1st at 10 am.For more, head to NJ Youth Hockey Central.