Ken Walsh, CEO of the Alfond Youth Center, speaks Friday at the center as officials announce plans to build a new ice skating rink beside the nearby municipal pool off North Street in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — When Ken Walsh, CEO of the Alfond Youth & Community Center, moved to Waterville in 1992, he was told by community members how the city was once a hockey town.

Now, nearly three decades later and with the help of donors and a board of directors, hockey will return to Waterville and will be accessible to all.

The project was announced on Friday at the Alfond Youth & Community Center and calls for the construction of a fully enclosed arena off North Street. Local investors and community groups have partnered with the Alfond center to construct the community recreation arena.

“We have some kids out here skating today and that’s what it’s all about, seeing kids who have never played a game of hockey or skate before have that opportunity,” said Walsh.

The $7 million project will be located between the North Street Recreation Area Playground and Alfond Municipal Pool, adjacent to the Alfond center off North Street. The creation of the center will provide access to local skating and sports to everyone, with an emphasis on area youth in need.

To date, 30% of the funding goal has been met at $2.7 million in pledges, according to Walsh.

Activities that will be offered include free skating lessons and public skating, and it will be a space for local school ice hockey and field sports teams with the potential for rental opportunities for birthday parties, events, tournaments and inclement weather alternatives.

“Skating is part of Waterville’s heart and soul,” said Andrew Silsby, president and CEO of Kennebec Savings Bank.

Jay Coelho, Waterville’s mayor, speaks Friday as officials announce plans at the Alfond Youth Center to build a new ice skating rink beside the nearby municipal pool off North Street in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The project will take about 12 months to construct. Included is a full sheet of ice, an enclosed facility with arena seating, bathrooms, locker rooms and maintenance and support spaced. For five months out of the year, the arena will house an ice rink; an indoor turf field will take its place for the remaining seven months.

Donations come from several partners, including Colby College, which gave $1 million worth of rink equipment, which includes boards, glass, a refrigeration system and other hockey-related equipment.

Ken Walsh, CEO of the Alfond Youth Center, speaks Friday at the center about plans to build a new ice skating rink beside the nearby municipal pool off North Street in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Doug and Rita Sukeforth, of Sukeforth Family Foundation, also donated $1 million toward the project. Investors on the project so far include Jamie & Sawyer Boulette, Fabian Oil, Golden Pond Wealth Management, Kennebec Savings Bank and Sheridan Corp. Each investor was awarded with an engraved hockey stick at Friday’s ceremony.

Rep. Bruce White, who is also a member of the Waterville Planning Board, said that having this arena will be “a game-changer for our area.”

“There is already a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm and it will be greater as we get closer to the groundbreaking of the arena,” White said. “I am grateful to be able to support this wonderful project and I am thankful for those that are behind this endeavor.”

A 99-year lease was approved unanimously by the City Council late last fall and was then OK’d by the Alfond Center’s board of directors. The Alfond Center would participate in building, managing and overseeing the rink operations.

“We have an amazing team of Waterville hockey alumni and enthusiasts leading the way on this fundraising project,” said Paul Boudreau, chair of the Steering Committee.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.