We feel of specified sites as currently being close to endlessly, until out of the blue a person day they are not any much more. Highland Ice Arena in Shoreline, open up given that 1962 and dwelling of innumerable skating classes, hockey methods and hours of mittened hanging out, is closing its doors this thirty day period. Sibling entrepreneurs Terry Environmentally friendly and Rick Stephens, whose late dad and mom James and Dorothy Stephens opened the rink 60 several years in the past, have created the hard selection that it is time to move on they’re getting older, and so is the creating. Oct. 15 will be the last day of community skating at the arena, with the Zamboni — their fifth, in six decades — circling the ice for the past time.
Skating rinks, in some means, are time capsules technology hasn’t built a dent in how we lace up a pair of scuffed rental skates, hobble to the rink, just take a deep breath and move on to the waiting around ice. I try to remember the skating rinks of my childhood and teenager yrs, and they seemed a great deal like Highland: benches scraped by several years of steel blades a row of enticing vending machines a perception of timelessness, like the outside the house environment could not contact this position where, comfortingly, very little ever appeared to improve.
If you have not been to Highland for a whilst but want to drop by in advance of it closes, you are going to likely locate it is not that diverse from your skating-lesson times. The professional shop sells skating attire that resemble what I could have yearned for as a tiny woman racing all-around the ice, and the wood paneling around the front desk once appeared far more modern day than it does now. Paper stars however hold from the acoustic ceiling in the foyer, charming animal murals (painted a long time back by Terry’s daughter) grace the back again hallway, and a black-and-white image of a younger James and Dorothy skating jointly — his arm wrapped around her waistline, their blades shining on the dark ice — is nevertheless thumbtacked to a bulletin board.
It is a compact, modest image — you’d skip it if you weren’t on the lookout for it — but it’s a reminder that Highland Ice Arena commenced with a appreciate story. James and Dorothy achieved for the duration of Entire world War II at an ice arena in Lachine, Quebec. She was dwelling on a break from touring with the Ice Capades he was a ham radio operator and teacher for the Royal Canadian Air Power who was also an attained figure skater and skating mentor. They married in 1944 — he was 23, she was 22 — and put in their long life alongside one another, on and off the ice. James died very last November Dorothy adopted just a few months later on.
The Stephens came to Seattle just after the war and co-leased the Ballard Ice Arena by way of most of the 1950s, but their desire was to establish their personal rink. They bought a plot of land on Aurora Avenue next to a trailer park in a remote place then known as Richmond Highlands and hoped to open up all through the Seattle World’s Reasonable. A metal strike delayed design, but Highland Ice Arena at last opened its doors on Dec. 14, 1962. Rick, then 10 yrs previous, remembered his moms and dads expecting maybe 50 to 75 individuals to display up on the 1st day. “We acquired 500,” he said, laughing. “That initial weekend was insane.”
James and Dorothy’s objective, Rick reported, was to be inclusive — “to maintain bringing in persons who just required to skate.” That meant fewer emphasis on massive-title skaters (while the likes of U.S. Olympians Rosalynn Sumners and Tonya Harding qualified on Highland ice early in their occupations) or AAA hockey, and lots of open ice time for inexperienced persons, or grownups who fondly remembered lacing up skates as a kid. “We just required persons to appreciate it.”
However James and Dorothy step by step handed off administration of the rink to Terry and Rick and their spouses several a long time ago, they remained concerned with the arena — together with the choice, made a handful of many years in the past, to market the creating. No potential buyers turned up who preferred to preserve it as a skating rink: Thanks to the close by Lynnwood Ice Center and the shiny-new Kraken Group Iceplex, the north finish of the metropolis is oversaturated with sites to skate, and it’s a seasonal business, just one in which it is tricky to make a dwelling.
Soon after the last times of small business, there’ll be 1 previous large reunion of Highland aggressive skaters, coaches and judges on Oct. 22. Then the doors will near, with the developing ultimately demolished and the property redeveloped with two mid-rise condominium structures, according to the Everyday Journal of Commerce. The furnishings are presently for sale the vending devices are vacant the memory boards on the wall display smiling faces of young ones who’ve skated at Highland more than the several years, in a colorful goodbye.
So which is it for Highland Ice Arena a good run, to be sure, for a little family business enterprise. Terry and Rick say they are unfortunate, but they are prepared to transfer on. It’s having also challenging to climb up on to the Zamboni, and the rink under no circumstances genuinely recovered from the pandemic closures and limitations with which they very carefully complied. Issues close.
I dropped by Highland this week, just to odor the chilly air of the rink (all rinks odor the exact, kind of like snow and anticipation) and get a perception of the location all over again. I didn’t go skating — the past time I did that, with my niece, my ankles protested and I made a decision my skating days were being completed — but I viewed two females as they quietly shared the ice throughout a Thursday morning open up skate. Their blades built a scrumptious crackling seem as they sliced into the ice, sinking into deep edges, gliding into swish arabesques, shifting impossibly promptly. Skating, I remembered, can be like flying. For 60 yrs, Highland Ice Arena was a position of every day miracles — a put where by blades experienced wings.