Ice in Paradise
Everyone says we live in paradise, but there is another paradise in Goleta at the state-of-the-art ice skating rink called Ice in Paradise. It’s located not far from Costco at 6985 Santa Felicia. The rink’s main donor (more than $1 million) was Ed Snider, who owned the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League. In fact, 50 years ago he mortgaged his home to found the hockey team. He was chairman of Comcast Spectator, a Philadelphia entertainment company.
Snider had a great passion for hockey and wanted Santa Barbara to have an ice rink so everyone of all ages could learn the sport. Snider died a billionaire entrepreneur in Montecito on April 11, 2016. He had realized his dream, for Ice in Paradise has hockey teams for youngsters from five up to oldsters over 40. They also have a skating school that teaches newcomers from their first time on the ice to jumps and spins or to play hockey. Ed was a board member, donor, and friend – an inspiration to Ice in Paradise.
President of the Figure Skating Club Alison DeLorenzo Juricek called me to attend my second annual Christmas ice show, their third. This year’s theme was Holidays Around the World: Olympic Style. The show had to be rescheduled because of the Thomas fire. They had Nathan Chen, 2017 US National Champion on board, but he had to be at the Olympics on the new date.
Then tragedy struck. Before the show February 10, Ice in Paradise lost two of its skaters in the Montecito mudslide. One was Dr. Mark T. Montgomery, M.D., who was a member of the adult hockey team, the Aces, and played his last game only hours before the slide. His daughter, Caroline, also passed away. The other was 6-year-old Peerawat “Pasta” Sutthithepa. He was in the skating school and had practiced hard to be in the “Polar Express” part of the show. In fact, his love of trains inspired them to do Polar Express as the production number. Pasta and other family members were lost as well. The star on the ice during the Polar Express was in memory of Pasta and represented his skating routine just as he rehearsed it. He had huge potential as a figure skater and brought joy to the ice every time he skated. He will be missed.
What I love about the show is that everyone gets a chance to shine, no matter their skill level. And as general manager Larry Bruyere said, “We are humbled by the generosity of our champion ice skaters that have traveled to be in our show today.” They take your breath away with their skill. By press time, the Winter Olympics will be over and the next group of skaters will be working toward their goal of Olympic gold.
This holiday show takes months to produce – including building sets, attending practice sessions, finding or creating costumes, and more. Some of the movers and shakers are producers Juricek and Bruyere with announcer Joel Smulson. Terry Tonius is the skating school director, and board chair is Jack Norqual along with board president Steve Heinze.
Some of the local skaters featured were Anna Bazylewicz, Ashlyn Carter, Lauren Dalmatoff, Acacia Danza, Sebastiano Juricek, Valentina Juricek, Sage Kerst, Cedric Laignier, Lauryn Lesovksy, Cassidy Peng, Livvy Severson, Lindsey Thomson, Analie Wilson, and Rachel Whynot.
Everyone is welcome to come, to try, and to learn. Call (805) 879-1550.