IDAHO — Idaho IceWorld shut its doors back in November because of COVID-19. Officials, citing financial concerns, said the closure would last until fall 2021.
This decision has left the local skating community devastated and frantically searching for other options.
“It’s where he has put all of his skill and his time and his energy and his passion,” Kristi Young, mother of hockey player Davin Young, said.
"If he had his choice, we would go every day after school he's that into it. He loves it,” said Bryan Londo, father of hockey player Skyler Londo.
The closure has affected the skating, curling, and hockey community, especially the youth.
"It's a huge loss. We have been through grief. We have been through the grief process for hockey," Young said.
"You get them into a routine, especially when they are this young, and they miss their friends and they miss having that outlet for energy, especially when it is a sport that they love," Londo said.
“I just have had parents who have said, 'yeah, this has not been going well for my kid at all.' You can just see that their mental status is so much different than it was before IceWorld was taken away,” Rachel Applebaum, hockey coach said.
With limited options for ice near the Treasure Valley, if players want to play, they are forced to travel.
“We’ve driven to Idaho City and hiked in a mile to find ice," Young said. "That is what a lot of the community is doing. We are going back to our roots, going back to wild ponds, figuring out how to test the ice, and how to be safe."
Applebaum, also a college student, lost her coaching job after the closure.
“It made me really angry," Applebaum said. "The ice rink is my home. I literally want to cry when I'm like, 'I can't go there.'"
Applebaum decided to purchase private ice time at Idaho Central Arena and volunteers her time to coach.
But, the only time slot she could get was at 5 a.m.
“I had one parent who was like my son was ready at 4 in the morning to get here on the ice," said Applebaum.
Applebaum says while that time isn't ideal and many kids can't make it, the response has been overwhelming.
“The amount of 'thank yous' and 'my kid probably wouldn’t have played hockey until fall,' and that’s what it is all about. I want to make sure these kids can get the best that they can,” Applebaum.
Still, if it were up to the kids, they'd rather be back in their second home on the ice.
"I just want Idaho IceWorld back now," Londo said.
"Being able to play games with my team and being able to skate around passing shooting, all of that I miss," Young said.
"I love that you get to shoot the puck when you are a forward and try to score," Londo said.