Skaters from across the Santa Clarita Valley jumped into their cars and held a parade in hopes of saving the local Ice rink and keeping future memories alive.
After 20 years of faithfully serving the skating community, Valencia’s Ice Station announced it will be permanently closing its doors last month. Santa Clarita’s skating community was heartbroken by the news, leading them to come together as a family.
“If this doesn’t show the community how important this building is to Santa Clarita, I don’t know what will,” said one event organizer, Leigh Ann Dunleavy. “We have plenty of other warehouses, plenty of other apartments and buildings, but we don’t have another rink.”
For many families, The Ice Station has been their second home. A place to share years worth of Hockey and Ice Skating knowledge with their children.
“If your kid has played here in the last seven years, I’ve either coached them or played against them, all my kids have played here and I still have one more that needs to go through.” said a driver, who chose not to give their name. “We’ve spent hours and hours and hours here and it’s tough to see it go.”
“My son has been playing Hockey since he was eight years old, he is now a sophomore in college still playing hockey.” said Santa Clarita local, Stacey Titter. “He found his passion here. It has been priceless, we have made lifelong friends here, lifelong memories.”
Parade goers showed their love and support for the rink by decorating their cars with their team colors and personal skating gear. Cars drove through the parking lot and briefly stopped in front of a banner that read, “#WeWillSaveTheRink.” With their photo being taken, the family’s name was written on the banner. This created a visual petition that shows the community’s support for the rink.
“I have skated here for 16 years and coached for six.” said Figure Skating Coach, Courtney Brewster. “It has been like my home, I’ve spent more time here than at my actual house. I come here seven days a week to coach, I see my students more than I see my family.”
Organizing a parade has not been the only effort to try and keep The Ice Station alive.
“We got together, Stacey (Titter) and myself along with a few others and started talking that we needed to get one voice out there for the community that says this is what we would like to have happen.” said Leigh Ann Dunleavy. “So that’s what we did, we got together and wrote up a petition. As of today we are almost at 23,000.”
The petition is still accepting signatures on their website for those who want their names added. Between this and the petition started at change.org almost 25,000 signatures have been signed.
Dunleavy expressed in order for the rink to remain operational, someone would have to purchase it.
“We know the property is very valuable but we would love to see it kept and run as a rink.” said Dunleavy.
Only time will tell if Santa Clarita residents will be able to one day return to their home away from home and continue to create those meaning memories that can never be forgotten.
“Don’t give up hope, If there’s a will there is a way,” said Coach Brewster. “I’m confident the rink will be saved and we will be able to be together as a family again.”