Braintree Hockey Pushes for New Ice Rink

There has been no movement for months on a plan for an ice rink and pool at Braintree High School.

Braintree Youth Hockey file photo.
Braintree Youth Hockey file photo.
Over the last few years, participation in Braintree Youth Hockey has doubled, today involving nearly 600 kids and 450 families.

The league spends close to $500,000 a year on game and practice ice time, given to ice rinks in Milton, Quincy, Weymouth and Randolph, but not Braintree.

"There is a significant passion for this sport," league president Tom McDonough said. "I'd rather write a check to my own town."

McDonough, speaking to the Town Council, represented a couple dozen parents in the audience Thursday at Town Hall and scores more Braintree Youth Hockey participants back at home who are pushing for the construction of an ice rink in Braintree.

"The ancillary benefits – you really can't count them," McDonough said, referring to money that would pour into Braintree from other communities' hockey programs and those who would visit for tournaments.

These arguments are familiar to Mayor Joseph Sullivan, who told the hockey parents Thursday, "I'm with you, we're trying to get this done."

However, a plan to have a private company, in partnership with the town, construct and operate a skating rink and indoor pool at Braintree High School has stalled over the last several months.

Sullivan said Thursday that he is committed to getting a deal done, but not if it means weighing down the town with excessive financial liability.

He said that he understands the passion of the hockey parents, but that he must prioritize how much taxpayer money goes into the project, especially with other capital needs such as school space requiring attention.

That means the town by itself has no plans to build an ice rink, Sullivan said.

Hockey parents have expressed deepening anxiety over the last several months as Randolph officials debated closing the Zapustas Ice Arena. 

"We as a program feel that will be a cascading issue," McDonough said.

Sullivan, who said he has a close relationship with Randolph Town Manager Dave Murphy, reassured those gathered at Town Hall that Zapustas will be open for the 2014-2015 season, citing a conversation with Murphy Thursday morning.

Murphy did not respond to a request for comment Thursday and was unavailable Friday.

Sullivan, after unveiling a new vision for the much fought-over project in December 2010, had originally hoped to break ground on the athletic complex at Braintree High School in 2012 and have it operating by the end of 2013. 

The town offered bidders $1.5 million from a fund set up in Petersen's name after he died in 1963. Petersen originally put aside $65,000, growing over the years to more than $2 million.

See more in this Braintree Patch article.
John Sanford January 27, 2014 at 08:17 AM
Hi Joe, Great article however I really don't think the Mayor see's the big picture as BYH President Tom McDonough does. I watched the meeting and he kept going around the subject. Peter Morin looked as if he couldn't care less. The Mayor and Mr Morin are the ones negotiating a deal. The problem here is a pool which I know is where the money is coming from can host swim meets, tournaments and draw some revenue from people visiting the town. If you build a Hockey Rink you build a destination!! Hotels will fill, eateries will see in an increase during tournament weeks/weekends, add the trolley's from the Adams Houses and have history tours that go from Thayer Houses to the Adams Houses and beyond.(Tell the real story about how Braintree was once where Quincy was) Charter buses to Boston,Day Trips to Cape Cod, F-1/Dave and Busters will see more hockey parents and kids looking to kill time in between games. The Plaza would also serve those Hockey mom's looking for some shopping as well as Pure Hockey getting more traffic (Hint: get the plaza to kick in some cash) The Plaza still reaps the benefits of low commercial tax rates. Finally and I could of kept going The kids, the hockey players and residents of this town could use a place like this for their own. A giant B or Wamp Chief head on the ice would let everyone know their at their Rink!!!
Sean January 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM
Someone should invest in a multi rink facility in Braintree, it would be a gold mine due to our location. The town's plan is to build one rink which is pointless and is clearly coming from people out of touch with the hockey world. How is all of Braintree Youth and Braintree High supposed to share one rink. Personally I'd love to see Pure Hockey build a big complex or maybe Thayer Academy could build one.
Wamp 4 ever January 27, 2014 at 10:38 AM
Anyone who has been to an ice rink lately on the South Shore can see there is a demand for more ice time. Why is this taking so long? A swimming pool as well will generate money. What is the town waiting for. Both a pool and an ice rink will be busy from the day it opens and generate cash flow. It's the first thing you learn in Economics...supply and demand...Why can't it be run just like the golf course. The mayor and everyone else is being stagnant about this. This money was donated with good intentions by someone and we are very lucky it's to bad the town doesn't know what to do.
kim. mitchell January 27, 2014 at 11:12 AM
Hockey has been a significant sport for years in Braintree. Its just going to keep getting pushed aside.
abdul January 27, 2014 at 11:13 AM
I don't think Ice ring will bring too much of Rev but swiming pool might but again, my biggest question is the school have to much space why do we have problem building for school? Joe, thanks for updating us.
Matt January 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Sean what would be the yearly operating cost of a multi rink facility?
John Sanford January 27, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Sean I agree with Pure Hockey building a rink but I know they wouldn't go into operating, one. That said naming rights is another option. Abdul Hockey Ring really? Come on if your going to post get in the game. Anyways I agree with the poster that commented on the fact that is being attempted to be done by people out of the hockey world. Also I would stay away from Thayer, They are on another planet and I wouldn't imagine they would not let the High School teams fly a banner or have their own locker rooms. If they want ice they can pay for it. We'll Mr Markman I hope the Mayor starts reading these phosting, they will add some insight into what he needs to be doing.
Sean January 27, 2014 at 09:26 PM
I heard Thayer is building their own rink soon anyways, not sure where. Matt I don't know costs but the multi rink in Marlboro is similar to Braintree. It's off major interstates, it's by a large mall, and it's near hotels. The rink in Marlboro is always packed especially with people from out of state attending tournaments.
Matt January 27, 2014 at 10:29 PM
So find out what it would take to get your idea on a ballot. If you have a lot of people that support your idea for a mulit rink facility then maybe town leaders would be more willing.


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