12 thoughts on “Where are all the outdoor skating rinks in Northfield?”

  1. There’s a rink at Way Park which gets LOTS of use as soon as it is flooded and freezes, all winter, day and night. Although it is designated on the city’s plan as a neighborhood park, the rink clearly is a draw for skaters of all ages from beyond the neighborhood, as cars parked along 1st street indicate. I don’t think there is another one on the west side.

  2. I love the Way Park skating rink, Jane. There’s another one like it at Washington Park, adjacent to City Hall. Both have well-maintained warming houses, too… and I think, a no-hockey rule.

    Are there others?

  3. Jane –

    There is a ice skating rink at Greenvale school. I am not sure if the city or the school district is in charge of it but there is a warming house there too.

  4. I believe there will be one again this year down by Babcock Park, I’m looking out my window right now and I see boards up, so I assume this will be where it is going to be again this year (they moved it from the city land by the movie theater turned Culvers a few years ago). This one allows/encourages hockey as I believe the Northfield Hockey Association helps maintain it.

    I love getting out and skating and shooting the puck around with friends. I normally go up to Carleton to do this, but too often we get kicked off the ice for Carleton’s broomball leagues. Normally Carleton keeps a decent sheet of ice though and I’ve seen casual skaters out there along with people shooting pucks around.

    Of course if you go up to Lakeville or Eagan you will find way better outdoor ice…these cities are really dedicated to having quality outdoor ice and warming house facilities as they have multiple sheets of ice next to each other and a lot of the time they even have city staff on-site watching and asking how the ice is.

    I wish Northfield could be like this and have the quality of ice that we haven’t seen in this town since Coach John McNamara was here and produced great outdoor ice at the High School and had the High School Hockey players maintain the ice. As a former player, it sure did suck dragging out the hose and flooding the rink a few nights a week, but it was worth it as it was a great sheet of ice to go out and play/practice on.

  5. Well, they aren’t official rinks, but the shallow ponds at Prairie and Jefferson Parkway are lovely in winter. Parents around the ponds usually keep them shoveled, and it’s wonderful to watch them out there teaching their little ones how to stay upright on the ice.

  6. Matt –

    As I read your post I envisioned Ames Park having two rinks with boards that are used for pick-up hockey and broomball games and one giant open sheet of ice for skaters of all levels.

    I might even buy a pair of skates in order to learn to skate myself!

    I wonder if the city and/or park board has ever considered this as an option. Perhaps it is too late for this year but it should be on the list for consideration next year.

    Maybe one or two of the many civic or fraternal organizations in town could take this project on as a service project. They could be in charge of doing the flooding of the rink etc. I know the city has a tractor with a sweeper in it that they could use to keep the ice clear of snow.

    A group such as the skateboard coalition could run a concession stand in the evenings and on weekends selling hot cocoa (marshmallows a must), hot cider, tea and hot dogs as a fundraiser for their organization.

    I can already picture the Norman Rockwell scene in my head — friends, family and townsfolk alike gathered for a night of skating on a rink encircled by rows of white Christmas lights. A gentle snow fallig down on a crisp clear winter night.

  7. Arlen,

    That’s a pretty good idea and it would be nice to have the rink(s) visible again! And even though I’m a hockey guy I like the idea of the open area reserved for the casual skater.

    It might be tough to find volunteers/organizations to make it a service project…maintaining the outdoor rinks isn’t easy, but if several people/organizations stepped up you could divide it up and have each be responsible for one of the 2-3 rinks.

    I’d also like to see the current High School Coach do what John McNamara did and have his team maintain a rink, it’s good team-building, you and 3-4 other guys go out there on nights and shovel the rink, flood it, clean up the warming house, etc…

    Unfortunately I don’t even know if the players now would even know how to shovel the rink.

  8. I would love to see Ames park used for a winter rec park including skating, hockey, broomball and maybe some snow sculptures. I have heard rumblings of this sort of project before and would love to see it move forward.

  9. Does anyone know of existing initiatives to make skating accessible to Northfield residents who do not own their own skates? It seems like there is a lot of free outdoor ice in Northfield, but families that cannot pay for skates are unable to enjoy the sport.

    Therefore, I am thinking about creating a skate bank, and parking a “skate van” at different ice rinks each weekend. ($1 per rental pair.) I am currently looking into various sources of funding.

    Please let me know if you or someone you know might be interested in collaborating! Your ideas and suggestions are welcome!

    1. Sarah,

      I would be happy to donate a pair of our daughter’s white girl’s figure skates for a teenager.

      Nothing we loved more than skating on the Cannon River when I was a kid! We all thought we were Sonja Henie! Now, it’s off to the rinks!
      Anyone want to pick them up?
      Helen

  10. Helen–one option to consider is donating the skates to the Northfield Ice Arena to be used as rental skates. Northfield Skating School collaborated with the arena last year to organize a successful skate drive–your daughter’s skates could be part of that effort to make skating more accessible by providing rental skates.

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