"You can't be common, the common man goes nowhere; you have to be uncommon." So said renowned hockey coach Herb Brooks, and so says the group of business, hockey, and civic professionals who founded KCIce. Their mission is to create an "uncommon community" where local companies can show their support for youth organizations and charities and young hockey players and figure skaters can pay it forward by volunteering their time and talent. The president of the company is four-time Stanley Cup champion and New York Islanders Hall of Famer Ken Morrow, who recently demonstrated what it means to give back. In January 2013, the rink hosted an event in which people could pose for photos with Morrow and his old friend Lord Stanley—the infamous cup. The gathering not only supported their own charitable efforts but also reaped three large barrels of canned goods for Harvesters: the Community Food Network.
As part of their community-mindedness, KCIce brings families and friends together with activities such as outdoor skating, pickup pond hockey, and sand-based volleyball in warmer months. Ice skaters can sit on the ledge of a stone fire pit on chilly evenings, keeping warm with hot chocolate, s’mores, and chilidogs. Strings of orb-like lights help illuminate the rink at night, making the freshly laid skate marks and the droplets of sweat on the hardworking zamboni glisten.
St. Louis County Parks and Recreation awakens the active side in community members with a bevy of sites and facilities dedicated to sports, outdoor exploration, and kid-friendly fun. Families splash away the summer heat with trips to the pool at the Kennedy Recreation Complex or the St. Vincent Community Center water park, where adults can swim laps in two 25-yard lanes while tykes descend an open water slide and practice their manners at underwater tea parties. The six recreation complexes serve as hubs for everything from fitness classes to ice-skating, and offer a diverse blend of indoor and outdoor activities. For more relaxing amusement, the stewards of the parks and recreation department maintain multiple museums and historic sites as well as outdoor trails, where voyagers can get in touch with nature and add to their collection of acorns that resemble former presidents.
Throughout the week, Empire Roller Rink owners Willie and Lisa Trent connect with members of their community by hosting skating lessons, hockey games, and public skating sessions. Willie's father opened the rink in 1938, now Lisa teaches artistic and basic skating lessons, and Willie often disc jockeys skating sessions, pulling tracks from a digital library, which includes a selection of worship songs he breaks out for Friday Christian skate nights. Empire Roller Rink is also home to the Artistic Skate Club, a team that practices creative and competitive skating and travels to competitions across the country in a giant 15-passenger motorized rollerskate.
Landmark 2 Skate Center evokes memories of a bygone American era when you could take your best gal out to the roller rink, buy her a shake at the soda fountain, and text her goodnight on the wooden cell phone you whittled yourself. The skating facility exudes an old-school, family-friendly charm, especially with its shimmering disco balls, collection of stand-up arcade games, and plastic booths that are Coke-label red. Skaters of all ages can glide across the sprawling rink, practicing turns with sleek blades and making lazy figure-eights with classic skates. Meanwhile, staffers bustle about behind the snack bar, doling out snacks and soda pops. Come Saturday night, a live DJ ramps things up a notch, filling the air with upbeat tunes and pop hits. Four times a year, the large skate center offers skating classes for both beginner and intermediate students.
Blue. Yellow. Green. Purple. These colors rain down from the ceiling at Great Skate Roller Rink, bouncing off of the disco ball and darting over the wide-open floor. The kaleidoscopic beams illuminate skaters of all ages, some strolling side by side, some cruising solo, and some shouting "Look no hands!" before realizing the emptiness of that boast. There's off-rink fun too, with arcades and a concession stand for guests in need of a breather. The rink also plays host to roller hockey games as well as skating competitions and lessons.
Two professional-size rinks and one Olympic-size ice rink occupy the 115,000 square feet of Hardee's Iceplex, which frequently hosts events such as USA speed skating and hockey tournaments. They open the rinks for public skating sessions and events such as figure skating, lessons, and hockey leagues for adults and children. The facilities contain ample rooms for parties and corporate events, the Summit Grille, the True Blue Authentic Team Store, and CrossFit Ice.