Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are you ready to skate 200 feet?

If you're playing hockey in Pasadena after September of next year, that's the distance you'll be skating when you have to chase someone down end-to-end.

After more than a decade of talking about it -- MORE THAN A FREAKING DECADE, PEOPLE -- the wise men and lady of the Pasadena City Council approved a 10-year, 2.5 percent loan to the Convention Center that will enable them to relocate the existing rink next door. Here's the short story from the Pasadena Star News, which smartly quotes a member of my team.

The new rink will be in the existing tent structure, which will have to be slightly lengthened. There will be locker rooms, party rooms, a skating store and, we're told, an all-around tidier atmosphere than the current rink which has character (it's in a converted ballroom) and is probably an incubator for several diseases that thrive among smelly hockey gear.

All this is good news, obviously. But think about it. After years of talking and studying and talking and pretending to be interested in the issue, the Council agreed to a chump change loan that won't cost them a single penny over the long haul. All to do something that would benefit their constituents, visitors to Pasadena and businesses that profit from being near the rink. Councilman Steve Madison gets credit for his support; the rest, as far as I was concerned, were just going through the motions.

Example: After my Wednesday night clinic, I usually motor over to the Whole Foods on the Arroyo Parkway. They've got a nice pig bar/buffet in which you pay $5.99 for a pound of food. I'm usually starving, so I feel up a box or two with mashed potatoes and pasta -- which are really awesomely tasty when mixed together.

I would never go to Whole Paycheck otherwise. But on clinic nights they get $15 from me.

Okay, so I'm not a Harvard economist. But you get the point. It's trickle down or trickle over or something like that.

Here's one other big thing to keep an eye on: At this point this is a temporary solution. There's no guarantee that the Convention Center will want to devote the space permanently to a full-size rink. So hopefully someone with the long view will begin thinking about where to put a new rink in the area, because the area really needs one with two sheets of ice. The new one will have a single sheet.

That said, here's something else: they need to really market the new rink and skating and hockey lessons. The existing rink tries to, but it could be better. The more people that use the new rink, the more likely there will be folks to stick up for ice skating next time it's threatened. 


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