Our story today is about the Washington Trust Community Skating Center right in the heart of downtown Westerly.
Did you know that ice skating is one of the oldest sports? Getting its’ start in Finland over 4000 years ago. The Finns used reindeer and musk ox bones for blades.
A 1000 years ago in Europe, skating was the sport of the upper class and royalty. Emperor Rudolf II, of the Holy Roman Empire, enjoyed skating so much he had a large ice carnival constructed at his court. King Louis, Napoleon, and many other kings and queens were big fans.
These early ice rinks were not very successful because without the technology to make ice, hogs lard and salt was used instead. In the late eighteen-hundreds figure skating and speed skating became popular but only men participated as women normally didn’t skate then.
It wasn’t until 1864 when Jackson Haines – a ballet dancer and figure skater – won the national championship, that modern skating, as we know it today, began.
Community Skating Rink – Westerly, RI
Watch the video ☝
The Washington Trust Community Skating Center is a great spot to take the family for some good old-fashioned fun. The 12,000 square foot rink has real ice to try out some of your signature moves. If you’re new to skating, lessons are available and the center has over 250 pairs of rental skates available. We spoke with Matt Glander – who manages the rink for the Ocean Community YMCA – about some of the programs that are available here.
“It’s the 12th year we’ve been open and it’s a great resource for the community. We have a lot of people who come out and skate.
“We have public skate and a youth hockey program for children ages 5 to 17. We have a curling program as well. You can drop in and learn how to curl and play in the league. We also have pickup hockey. You can come and play pond hockey, helmets, gloves, skates, and sticks. We have stick and puck time when you can come and shoot around. So come on down and check us out.”
At the Washington Trust Community Skating Center you don’t have to be a king or queen to enjoy the sport. Come down and try a centuries old winter sport under the sun, or stars, and start your own family tradition.
For more local Westerly info check out the new Westerly+