MV Ice Arena holds grand reopening ceremony

Island commemorates 40 years of MV Arena history during the ribbon-cutting.


Don Lambert, MVRHS’s former varsity hockey coach, there with his buddies Tom Taylor and Geoghan Coogan of the ubiquitous Coogan hockey clan, handled the mic as master of ceremonies on Saturday afternoon, as Island hockey fans celebrated the official reopening of the MV Ice Arena.

The brief “Grand Reopening” ceremony was a ribbon-cutting to dedicate the renovated arena and its newly dedicated Barnes-Swartz rink, and included several of the prime movers who transformed a manmade pond into the facility used by hundreds of high school players, figure skaters, youth hockey players, and public skaters today.

Before the ceremony, Mr. Taylor and several of the cohort milled around old pictures of the growth and development of the Island’s go-to winter facility. Mr. Lambert recalled early efforts. “We had rubber mats out there, and covered them in water to form a surface,” he said, gesturing to the shiny new rink.

In those mid-1970s days, car headlights illuminated the surface for skaters. Improvements came little by little. Sideboards — more like bumper rails — were added, and a set of lights from the Oak Bluffs baseball field magically appeared.

And fundraising began to grow. “We went to Fairleigh Dickinson Jr. with, I don’t know, maybe $100,000, and he wrote a matching check on the spot,” Mr. Lambert recalled. After that, a roof appeared on the rink in 1981.

Mr. Taylor’s family showed up to fund establishment of a high school varsity sport; parents and donors got involved. The 40-year ‘overnight success’ was completed last October. Saturday was a proud moment for the Island community, made sweeter two hours later by the boys high school varsity team’s first home win of the season.