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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Gary White hands out skates as skaters prepare to hit the ice at the Headwaters Park ice rink on Saturday.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Alexis Barcelona and Harrison Sutphin take it nice and easy around Headwaters Ice Skating Rink on Saturday. Business has been brisk at the rink and the SportONE Parkview Fieldhouse this season. See story on Page 4C.

Sunday, December 24, 2017 1:00 am

Business really heating up at city ice rinks

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Some outdoor situations call for a warm blanket, and on Saturday that situation arose for Courtenay McMichael.

As her children – ages 10, 12 and 14 – joined dozens of other skaters on the ice rink at Headwaters Park, the Antwerp, Ohio, woman sat on the sidelines, a blanket on her lap.

Some skaters, meanwhile, were peeling off layers in the chilly temperatures.

This trip to Fort Wayne is tradition for the Ohio family – at least when something else, like the stomach bug, doesn't sideline the activity, McMichael said. She noted they missed last year.

It could be another record-breaking year for the outdoor rink, which opened its 15th season Nov. 18. It celebrated its 300,000th visitor last season.

Geoff Paddock, executive director of Headwaters Park, said the rink has had about 2,000 more skaters so far compared to this time last year. Last season saw more than 27,000 skaters, he said.

“It has been good skating weather,” Paddock said. “Obviously, that helps us.”

SportONE Parkview Icehouse between Wells Street and Lima Road is also drawing skaters. Weekends are popular, especially in the evenings, said Kellsey Kolkman, a customer service representative.

She called it a fun activity for the whole family.

Tara Moser, who came to the Headwaters rink with her extended family, said ice skating there goes hand-in-hand with a trip to Coney Island. The Bluffton woman said this marked the second year of that tradition.

Rachel Laukhuf of Payne, Ohio, recommends parking at Headwaters Park and making the brisk walk to the Main Street eatery.

McMichael acknowledged the activity can involve some tumbles and did for her kids Saturday.

“They're having fun, though,” she said.