The Cape Community Arena Group is set to open its temporary outdoor rink Friday at Gull Crest Fields. Contributed / Cape Community Arena Group

If you’re looking for skating lessons, to play ice hockey or otherwise get out on the ice this winter, Cape Elizabeth’s Gull Crest Fields is a new destination to consider.

A group planning to build an open-air ice arena at the town recreation site off Spurwink Avenue prepared this week to open their temporary outdoor rink, kicking off with a public skate from 5-8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 6.

The rink is a test run for the Cape Community Arena Group before it operates the full-scale arena it hopes to begin building in 2024. Running the rink will give volunteers experience with facility maintenance, Zamboni operation and the organization of events such as “learn to skate” classes and hockey practices, according to Julie Furt, chairperson of the nonprofit arena group.

“The purpose of the temporary rink is to learn and understand what it takes to operate a rink,” Furt said.

While they have had the help of professionals at IceOps, LP Murray & Sons and Terradyn Consultants, the group has relied on upward of 50 volunteers to bring the temporary rink to fruition, she said.

“The majority of the round-the-clock ice making, and those types of activities, have been volunteer-run,” Furt said, and she is “incredibly grateful.”


“Our Zamboni drivers are learning to drive a Zamboni,” she said. “Even monitoring the ice and providing Zamboni coverage is going to be on a volunteer basis.”

She expects to encounter a number of “blips” that need fixing.

The arena group sees Friday’s open skate as a proper kickoff event, with more activities to follow.

They will host “learn to skate” lessons, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, followed by “learn to play” hockey sessions at 9 a.m. for kids. The Cape girls’ and boys’ high school hockey teams will begin practicing at the rink in the near future and other public activities are planned.

The open-air arena proposed for Gull Crest Fields will provide sorely needed ice time for hockey teams and community members, the group says. They also plan to use the arena as a venue for other events, such as small concerts. Recreational spaces within the planned facility may offer activities like yoga and exercise classes.

The project, estimated to cost $5 million, will be privately funded.

To learn more about the arena project, scheduled activities at the temporary rink, and for status updates, visit or the Cape Community Arena Facebook page.

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