Youth hockey teams play a game last year at the opening of the first rink at Brunswick Landing. The rink will open again this year, but in Topsham instead. The rink is a precursor to a larger, permanent arena at Brunswick Landing. Courtesy of Benet Pols

BRUNSWICK — While hockey players, skaters and curlers and await the construction of a new indoor ice arena at Brunswick Landing, a temporary, outdoor rink in Topsham is almost ready, according to Bill Patterson, rink project manager. 

The temporary rink is slated to open around Jan. 10, Patterson said, depending on the weather. Located at 20 Atwood Road, the site of Seacoast United, the rink comes equipped with boards, lights, indoor locker rooms and a Zamboni to help keep the ice in top condition, he said. Public skating, youth and high school hockey practices, pond hockey events and more will be a regularly scheduled, he added, and organizers are also trying to work out something for curlers as well. 

Last year, another temporary rink opened by Flight Deck Brewing Co. at Brunswick Landing, but the spot wasn’t available this year. 

The Topsham location was offered for free, he said. with the indoor amenities that keep them from “sitting out in the cold” like last year, it turned out to be a great upgrade, he added. 

Next season, Patterson hopes he and the Midcoast Youth Hockey Association will be able to build another temporary rink: a refrigerated indoor facility at the Topsham location he said. 

Patterson hoped the indoor facility might be open by October,  but the unavailability of land and some deed restrictions at Brunswick Landing set their timeline back considerably, he said. Planning and fundraising are in the works to have it set up for next winter instead. 

The temporary indoor rink will include a two-thirds practice rink. In the offseason, flooring can be installed so the rink can be used for sports like lacrosse, soccer or roller-skating. 

The three temporary rinks are all warm-ups for the ultimate goal: A full-sized ice arena at Brunswick Landing for the surrounding communities to enjoy. 

The town is slated to receive a roughly 15-acre parcel near the Rec Center, possibly as soon as next year, according to a recent Restoration Advisory Board meeting.

This is the intended location for the ice arena, Patterson said, adding the hopes some of the land will be developed into a pool and athletic fields to join the rink as part of a larger sports complex. 

Plans for the rink, a $4 or $5 million project, are still moving forward, he said. 

There are at least four local high school teams competing for limited ice time at Bowdoin’s Sidney J. Watson Arena, meaning some kids have to get up as early as 3:30 a.m. just for hockey practice. It’s not healthy for the kids or their academics, Patterson said.

Youth hockey teams are struggling too, with many players driving as far as Auburn just for an hour on the ice. 

Organizers hope to kick off their capital campaign in early 2020 and Patterson is optimistic of their success. 

“We have over 250 families personally invested in having an indoor rink,” he said.

In the meantime, starting in early to mid-January, they can use the rink in Topsham, free of charge, until it closes in March. 

“Get ready to come and skate with us,” he said, “we just want people to keep using it.”

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