GOLETA, Calif. -- The Ice in Paradise is on thin ice. The arena, like many other businesses, have been hit hard during the pandemic.
At the start of 2020 the rink, like many others were optimistic. The Ice in Paradise started the year with a senior hockey tournament.
Rick Lohnes played for the Santa Barbara Old Hacks. He said about the senior hockey tournament, “I’m 84 and having the time of my life.”
Next was Try Hockey For Free Day for the youngsters. One four-year-old said while his dad laced up his skates, “I’m going to be a hockey player.”
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Ice in Paradise tried to remain open with restrictions before calling it a year and removing the ice in November.
Ice in Paradise general manager, Larry Bruyere said, “This is our busiest time of year. And our revenue has been completely shut off being closed. So we’re relying on the skating community and the community at large to donate money.”
Bruyere said from November to February, weekends are usually filled with hockey tournaments with teams around the U.S. and Canada playing. And figure skating competitions and shows. Instead this year, there’s a GoFundMe page so the rink can re-open when the pandemic ends.
“It’s tough because it took 20 years to have Ice in Paradise built," said Bruyere. "And for one year to have such an impact on our future it’s really tough to swallow. So we’re bound and determined to keep the building open and keep people on the ice.”
To make donations more personal, The Ice in Paradise is selling customizable bricks for their COVID-19 brick garden.
“We’re calling it our COVID-19 2020 section that we’re building in our donor park. And people can buy a brick for $750 dollars or a larger brick for $1,750 dollars,” said Bruyere.
Ice in Paradise is the only rink along the Central Coast. And Bruyere said it’ll be sad to see a region of California loses access to ice hockey and figure skating.