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Warm Spurt Ends Fun, For Now, at Wicker Ice Rink (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

By Alisa Hauser | January 25, 2016 1:05pm | Updated on January 26, 2016 10:08am
 The Wicker Ice rink opened on Jan. 17 to great fanfare, despite the bitter cold temperatures.
Wicker Ice Rink Opening Week
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WICKER PARK — Wicker Ice, the community-funded and volunteer-maintained ice skating rink in the neighborhood's namesake park, celebrated its first-week anniversary by closing late Sunday — thanks to the warm weather. 

"We are being extra cautious," said Nick Gecan, a volunteer co-chairman of the 60-foot-wide by 120-foot-long non-refrigerated rink, which was erected on Dec. 5 but did not open until Jan. 17.

Around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, two skating couples holding hands were the last four people to enjoy the amenity before it closed until further notice.

Wicker Park resident Joe Sawicki, a rink volunteer, said several hockey players were scheduled to play rat or pick-up hockey from 8 to 9 p.m. Sunday after the adult skate, which ended early. Since rink conditions would not be safe, everyone who signed up was alerted to the closure, Sawicki said.

A rat or pick-up hockey game on Jan. 19, 2016 [Vine]

Monday's temperatures are expected to reach a high of 39 degrees, and the rest of the week will be warmer, too, with exception of Wednesday, according to reports.

Gecan described the rink's first week as "absolutely outstanding."

"We saw hundreds of families, had great positive feedback. Nothing but smiles. People that weren't even skating were staring at [the rink] in awe," Gecan said.

At a Stick and Puck drill session early Sunday, Lorna Cagann, the rink's volunteer coordinator, said she never saw less than 10 people on the ice all day Saturday.

"People from as far as the South Side were coming by to play," Cagann said.

Jen Yu, a West Bucktown resident, was lacing up her skates on Saturday, preparing to hit the ice with her family.

"It's wonderful, a great thing to see that the community did this," Yu said.

Rink users are advised to check the Wicker Ice Facebook page to ensure the rink is open and ice conditions are suitable for skating before arriving to the rink. The skating season is scheduled to end March 1. Volunteer ice monitors and resurfacers can sign up online.

View hours of operation, as well as rat hockey and puck and stick schedules. 

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