Peconic Hockey Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring hockey to youngsters on the East End, is proposing to give Riverhead Town an ice rink “bubble” at no charge — other than the estimated $300,000 cost of moving it.
Peconic Hockey Foundation was established in 2014 and is based in Wading River. They describe themselves are “the leading organization for hockey and skating on Eastern Long Island.”
“Originally, we looked at Vietnam Veterans park (in EPCAL) as a location for the rink, but there were too many obstacles,” said Ray Coyne, the town’s parks and recreation director. After that, they turned to the south soccer field at Stotzky Park, which he said is underused and in bad shape.
At Wednesday’s Town Board work session, board members informally voted to pursue that location for the “bubble,” under which games can be played. The structure is currently located in Cranston, Rhode Island.
Mr. Coyne said he’s been working with Peconic Hockey Foundation for several years on finding a location in Riverhead.
“Ice hockey is sorely need in this town,” he said. “For years we’ve been asked when we’re going to get a rink.”
“This is an exciting thing,” said Supervisor Yvette Aguiar. “We don’t have a hockey rink out here, and it’s a growing sport.”
Troy Albert, the president of Peconic Hockey Foundation, is a Riverhead Town resident, a parent and a hockey coach. He said the organization’s members are all volunteers. He said there is no indoor ice skating rink for miles.
“Riverhead is perfect,” Mr. Albert said. “It checks all the boxes. It’s got the biggest demographics and population on the East End.”
In 2020, Mr. Albert spoke before the Town Board about the proposal for a rink at EPCAL.
He said Riverhead is ideal for a rink because “it has everything from restaurants to hotels and tourism.
“This could be the future home of East End hockey,” he added.
The closest indoor ice hockey rink is currently The Rinx in Hauppauge.
He said Peconic Hockey Foundation is doing more than just playing hockey.
“We’ve spend over $30,000 on donations and have been donating to all the schools on the East End,” he said. “We were realizing that there’s a whole big picture here.”
Mr. Albert said a dome or covering is needed because of rain.
The board’s next formal meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Deputy Town Attorney Anne Marie Prudenti said the land at Stotzky Park is parkland, and in order to have a private partnership with the town, the town must “unequivocally show what benefit our residents and children will have that they don’t already have.”
But she said “there’s no reason that shouldn’t be put together immediately for the Town Board to consider.”