ROCKAWAY PARK — Officials and local hockey players braved the rain Saturday to break ground on a new state-of-the-art rink that will replace one that was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy — complete with lights for nighttime play.
Rockaway Rockies players joined Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and City Councilman Eric Ulrich to celebrate the upcoming construction at Beach 108th Street near the former boardwalk.
“This rink will be a peninsula jewel providing many functions and serving many families from Breezy Point to Broad Channel,” said Ulrich, who earmarked $600,000 in city money for the project.
The Department of Parks and Recreation contributed the remaining $491,000 to complete the rink.
Sandy flooded the rink, ripping up portions of its concrete surface and wrecking the walls, parks officials said.
The rink, which could start hosting games before the end of 2015, will boast new asphalt and be lit up at night with new lights, officials said.
There will also be new benches, water fountains, boards and fencing as well as an electric scoreboard.
Rockies players enjoyed the old rink in the rain Saturday, and gave Parks Department officials signed hockey sticks to commemorate the event.
Dolores Orr, the chair of Community Board 14, thanked the city for its commitment and said the Rockies are "an important part of the youth development in our community and they deserve to have a space where they can play safely and with pride."
Silver, an avid hockey fan, told players he hoped to check out a game once it was all finished.
“Projects like the Roller Hockey Rink demonstrate NYC Parks’ ongoing renewal efforts in the Rockaways," he said in a statement.