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Andy Gebhardt, left, and Jeff Fields play a little hockey on the Wallowa Valley Ice Rink in the Enterprise City Park. The rink is a mecca for winter sports during the cold season. KATY NESBITT/The Observer
If the best things in life are free, add skating at the Wallowa Valley Ice Rink to the list.
Each fall dedicated volunteers erect the rink and prepare it for the freezing temperatures of December needed for hockey and free skating.
Heather Risseeuw, manager of the rink, said her primary goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle.
“Kids are Kool,” a skate lease program, continues this year. Because kids’ feet grow so quickly, for $20 young skaters can lease either hockey or figure skates for the entire season.
“So far we have 19 kids signed up,” said Risseeuw.
Risseeuw said a grant from the Wildhorse Foundation helps support the program while funding from Enterprise’s motel tax, and 34 business sponsors help fund operating the rink.
Treasures Antiques and Newer on Enterprise’s Main Street keeps the rink’s skates on hand during their regular business hours. Daily rentals for kids and adults are also available through Treasures for $5 a day.
Risseeuw said the rink recently received a grant from Oregon State Parks to level an area of the park for a new rink and build two new bathrooms that will be ready by next winter.
Continued fundraising will go to building a multipurpose, covered pavilion for year-round use.
Risseeuw said, “It can be used in the summer for weddings or farmers’ markets as well.”
While fundraising is going well, Risseeuw said some people prefer to donate tangible items like skates. The rink accepts donations to buy new skates for the rink’s inventory.
The rink is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. as long as the weather cooperates.
After school skating is from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Youth hockey is on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
For adults, advanced, co-ed hockey is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.
Adult beginner hockey is Tuesday and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Broomball is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Jan. 4 through 6 members of the adult hockey league, the “Eh’s,” will compete in a three-on-three pond hockey tournament in Seeley Lake, Mont, said Eh’s member Jeff Fields. “The adult hockey program is huge and really solid,” said Risseeuw, “but we need more kids to come out!”
She said the rink could use skating instructors and if anyone is interested, they should call the rink hotline.
The ice rink is located at the Enterprise City Park on the corner of Depot and Greenwood streets. Call the rink hotline at 541-263-0715 for more information on leasing or renting skates, updated schedules, donations and to verify that the rink is not closed due to weather.
Skates can be rented at Treasures Antiques and Newer, 541-432-3873.