Story as written in The Patch on Oct 17, 2022:
UNION COUNTY, NJ — The State of New Jersey will present a $8 million check for a new indoor ice skating rink at Union County's Warinanco Sports Center this week.
According the Union County Board of County Commissioners, Senate President Nicholas Scutari will present the check on behalf of the state on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 5 p.m.
Warinanco Sports Center currently has an indoor skating rink, but it can only be used seasonally, whereas the new rink will be available to residents year-roud.
In a contract to be awarded to USA Architects, the concept design for the new facility will feature a second sheet of ice increasing the capacity of the facility. The project for the new rink is slated to begin by the end of 2023 with an estimated completion date of 2025.
“We are proud to support a new skating rink that will serve communities throughout Union County,” said Senate President Scutari. “A year-round rink will provide more young hockey players and recreational skaters the opportunity to use a state-of-art facility for healthy and enjoyable activities. The Warinanco Sports Center will continue to be a premiere attraction for Union County.”
Since 1961, families have used the seasonal skating in the park, and in 2019 the skating building was renovated and renamed to the Warinanco Sports Center, which sits adjacent to the skating rink.
The seasonal rink, which generally opens at the end of November, is home to eight Union County high school hockey teams and hosts more than 50,000 skaters every year.
“This is a real boost for families and young people in Union County who will now have a modern rink available throughout the year,” said Senator Joe Cryan. “The sporting events and recreational skating will be more accessible and more affordable for working families. The new Warinanco Center will be an active and important part of the Union County community.”
County Commissioner Sergio Granados said the new facility will allow non-profits like the Cranford Hockey Club and many Union County high school boys and girls ice hockey teams to keep the sport more affordable.
“The creation of a new ice rink at Warinanco Park is a transformative moment for youth sports in Union County and North Jersey,” said Mike DuHaime, president of the non-profit Cranford Hockey Club. “The new rink will allow us to keep costs down for families, play more games here in Union County, and most importantly start a scholarship program, opening the doors for so many more children locally to play ice hockey, so cost will no longer be a barrier to access to the ice."
Established in 1956, the Cranford Hockey Club is the oldest travel hockey club in the state of New Jersey, according to the County.
Nearly 300 children, ages five to 18, are currently part of the club’s travel and learn-to-play programs.
Warinanco Park has been Cranford Hockey Club's home rink for decades, though due to increased demand, the teams hold some of its home games and practices elsewhere. As a non-profit, the club is run solely by volunteers, including the board, coaches, and team managers.
More information on the club's scholarship program can be found at https://www.cranfordhockeyclub.com/scholarship
For more information about Warinanco Sports Center and Ice Skating Rink, visit https://warinancopark.com/.