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Author Topic: Wintersport Arena Demolished  (Read 1904 times)

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Wintersport Arena Demolished
Topic: May 22, 2021, 09:56:35 AM
THE END OF AN ERA FOR A COOL OLD HOCKEY RINK



All that is left is just a shell and childhood memories of fun and good times.



WILLOW GROVE, PA. - The kids, (our kids) won't and can't appreciate the nostalgia. An institution of sorts, many of us can say Wintersport was all part of growing up. Others, meh, just another dumpy old rink.

Way back when....

It seems like just yesterday there were only a few local rinks, the cream of the crop, Faceoff Circle was the crown jewel of Bucks County ice rinks followed by Wintersport and Grundy Recreational Center. Wintersport though set itself apart from the rest and was known for its trademark dingy appearance with rusted old rafters, which many saw rats scurrying across, and tiny locker rooms in which teammates practically had to sit on top of each other to get dressed. The crazy part was, the ice was great, the rest of the place was shit, but the ice was rock hard and fast.

Most of us will remember the rink for its crazy-ass High School hockey games, most notably the annual Varsity Christmas tournaments which typically spawned out of control riots between rival schools who normally didn't play each other until the Flyers Cup.


Council Rock vs Father Judge Christmas tournament brawl 1987

The rink was home to the NHL's first million-dollar hockey player Ray Staszak, and NHL Hall of Famer Mike Richter who highlighted some of the Delaware Valley's very best players to skate on its ice.



[click to enlarge]
In the early morning, Wednesday, September 7, 1994, a 3-alarm fire ripped through Wintersport causing extensive damage, the cause of the fire was never publicized but many wondered if it was intentional.










A rebuild would take place but only what was damaged was repaired. The rest of the rink remained a total dump until 2017 when it was sold to local businessman Dave Sheerr. He would immediately go to work overhauling the building. The rink was immaculate, though still the smallest rink in the area, the locker rooms were rebuilt, enclosures were built around the stands, the ice surface, boards, and glass were all rebuilt and reconditioned brand new. Sheerr also brought back the Wintersport Royals hockey club, re-establishing the organization which had disappeared for over a decade prior.



Unfortunately, it wouldn't last. In January of 2020, Black Bear Sports Group LLC would rear it's ugly head again as they stepped in and took over the Royals hockey club, forcing the sale and closure of the hockey rink. The end result, the demise of Wintersport hockey rink. See Black Bear Purchases Royals LLC and Wintersport Closing
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Reply #1:
 May 22, 2021, 10:53:58 AM
Maybe hockey families should consider avoiding all BBH rinks and programs.....
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Reply #2:
 May 22, 2021, 03:48:58 PM
That rink was beautiful but its a sign of the times that it was way too small. I never saw the original but from the sounds of it I don't think I would have wanted to.
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Reply #3:
 May 22, 2021, 03:51:30 PM
This rink wasn't Staszaks home rink Grundy was. Ray did play there often though so I guess that kind of can still be called home. Same for Richter, his home rink was Wissahickon.
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Reply #4:
 May 22, 2021, 04:35:56 PM
Dave did a great job of cleaning up that rink but his mistake was not merging with the Wildcats when he had the chance. Did they also knock down the meth den bar next door?
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Reply #5:
 May 22, 2021, 04:55:39 PM
This rink wasn't Staszaks home rink Grundy was. Ray did play there often though so I guess that kind of can still be called home. Same for Richter, his home rink was Wissahickon.
Gotcha, they both did play there a lot though.
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Reply #6:
 May 23, 2021, 08:09:48 AM
Get ur facts correct we were in the royals organization while the rink was getting offers to buy it. We got at least 2 emails from the hockey director 1 that the rink wasn’t for sale then after the township meeting to rezone the property was made public that the lease had been extended on BCI the future home of the Royals… it wasn’t til the end of 19-20 that blackbear bought the Royals and their first season was 20-21….
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Reply #7:
 May 23, 2021, 01:30:57 PM
simply not true.  The rink was under contract for years before black bear got involved.  check the zoning records.
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Reply #8:
 May 23, 2021, 01:32:26 PM
The list of rinks that Black Bear saved from extinction is long.  Not sure what all the hate is for.
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Reply #9:
 May 23, 2021, 01:47:07 PM
BCI has been under renewed leases for the past 6 years at 3 years a piece. Just renewed again by Black Bear. The curling club has no use for the rink. If it doesn't get renewed they will turn it into a warehouse.
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