A member of a previously undiscovered species known as skateasaurus stakes its territory, tracing figure eights along the rink's hardwood floor. Dressed in blue-and-white shorts and a red trucker hat, the plush, green-and-yellow dinosaur—otherwise known as Skato—eschews eating children, and instead prompts them to shake it all about in rounds of Hokey Pokey. This fun ambiance extends to the rest of United Skates of America's roller rink, surrounded by lime-green walls and manned by a smiling staff.
The cool blades of skates have cut grooves into the ice at Hommocks Park Ice Rink since 1975. Skaters flock to the indoor rink during public-skate times curving into figure-8s, flying through the air doing axels, and laying down to imitate the most popular hockey mascot, a friendly boulder. Aspiring skaters aged 4 and older brush up on skills during group lessons. Meanwhile, when skaters need time on less slick surfaces, they can refuel with snacks and treats at the Slap Shot Café, which brims with the aromas of pizzas, chicken wings, and nachos.
With two rinks—an official NHL-sized rink and a training rink—SoNo Ice House is accessible to skaters and hockey players of all ages and skill levels. Casual skaters can shoot across the ice between trips to the café and take a break on the observation area, and hockey players can suit up for league play or practice their shots on the facility’s RapidShot training system. An educational facility as well as an entertainment venue, SoNo staffs instructors who lead students of varying ages through skating and hockey lessons. In addition to its two rinks, SoNo Ice House is also home to the Athletic Edge Training Center.
Steeplechase caters to serious skaters and blade bush leaguers alike with a variety of semiprivate lessons. Helmed by instructors belonging to the U.S. Figure Skating Association, classes span an array of styles, including figure skating, dance, freestyle, and hockey. Students will learn how to impress skeptical sidekicks with fundamental skating techniques, specialized ice skills, and the basic moves required for killer reenactments of Citizen Kane on ice. Enrollees are encouraged bring their own skates and gloves (rental is $4.50), and admission to the rink ($8) is not included.