THE END OF AN ERA FOR A COOL OLD HOCKEY RINKAll 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