NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — Ask 16 year-old hockey player Brian Parzyck and he’ll tell you this place is awesome.
“I like skating in the winter,” he said. “It gets me out of the house, warms me up, keeps me within the game of hockey.”
Ask Rebecca Estrella — mom to four-year-old Rocco– and she’ll tell you it’s awesome, too.
“Having something like this is really special,” she said.
They’re both talking about a new public ice rink at Breen Field in Naugatuck. Getting it built required a lot of dedication and determination by a volunteer named Gigi Ramos. She begged individuals and companies for cash to fund it. She ended up raising almost $9,000 over a few years and now — a baseball diamond has been transformed into an outdoor ice rink for the community to enjoy — whether it’s an aspiring Wayne Gretzky, or an appreciative mom who gets to bond with her child while showing him something she loved as a kid.
“It’s exactly what I wanted to see,” Gigi said. “I wanted to see children, parents, sisters, siblings having fun on an outdoor skating rink. “I’ve been involved with skating and hockey all my life with my children, my grandchildren, and I’m a big promoter for doing stuff to make the community stronger and greater for children. Children are my most important mission in life.”
The ice rink was also an important mission for Bob Roland — a former U.S. Army veteran who now serves his country and community as the Superintendent of the Naugatuck Parks Department. He and his friends and colleagues helped to actually build the rink. It tapped into his sense of service.
“Anyone that serves their country or veterans never really stops serving, you know?,” he said.
The ice rink is a gift from people who care about their community. They didn’t do it for recognition or personal glory, they did to see the smiles on the faces of people like 4 year-old Rocco..
“Thank you Miss Gigi,” Rocco said.
And that, in turn, puts a smile on their faces.
The Naugatuck Ice Rink at Breen Field is open to the public Monday-Thursday 10am-8pm; Friday 10am-9pm; Saturday 8am-9pm; Sunday 8am-6pm
They also have “stick time”, which is strictly for hockey players who are looking to sharpen their skills. Those times are: Monday-Thursday 7-8pm; NO stick time on Fridays. Stick time resumes on Saturday and Sunday 8am-10am and 3-5pm