USA Hockey Magazine

February 2013

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Hartford's Icy Oasis By Justin Felisko Local Rink Owner And USA Hockey Director Spearheads Efforts To Get Locals Skating D espite the echoing of car horns bouncing off the towering Hartford, Conn., skyline, Megan and Zachary Lamphere's joyful laughter could be heard inside Bushnell Park on a late December morning. The 6-year old twins from Manchester, Conn., spun, glided and tumbled their way around the outdoor rink with Stanley Cup winning grins after learning to skate just three weeks earlier. Megan, a self-described "ice dancer," according to her mother Diana, and her brother were just two of thousands of people who have benefited from the city of Hartford's Winterfest, a two-month long event featuring a 100 x 100 foot outdoor skating rink that offers free skate rentals, lessons and open public skating. "It's been teary [eyed] I guess you could say," said Diana Lamphere, a mother of six. "If it wasn't for them teaching [my kids] they really wouldn't have picked it up at all, and I never would have thought about having them skate." Now in its third year, Winterfest was the vision and goal of Hartford mayor Pedro Segarra as a way to open up the city of Hartford's public parks during the winter months. "We have seen an increase in visitors from neighboring towns as far as Greenwich and have surpassed our numbers for last year," Mayor 14 february. 2013 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM Segarra said. "It's been good for the surrounding businesses and for the entire capital city. The fact that it's free is also important because it makes it accessible for everyone." Three years ago the only sound coming from the closed park would be an occasional dog barking. However, from Nov. 23 until Jan 21 it was full of the sights and sounds of children and adults of all ages flocking to the park that sits in the shadows of the Connecticut State Capitol building. Segarra reached out to Bob Crawford, a USA Hockey District director and owner of Champions Skating Center with 16 years of experience in the rink business, in October of 2010 with the idea of building an outdoor rink in the middle of Hartford. The opening of a outdoor rink in Hartford's Bushnell Park has given local residents and visitors something to do during the chilly Connecticut winter. Photos By Ryan Matlack

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