PLATTSBURGH - For the last eight years, the Lake City Stars Arena on Sharron Avenue has been owned and operated by Thomas Dowhan of Vermont. Recently however, two community-oriented guys have taken over.
The newly renamed Ameri-Can North Sports Center, co-owned by Jamie Reidy and Craig Worley, has the potential to be a "family place."
"We see the potential here," explained Worley. "We just want to make it better for the community. The youth especially. Make it a family place once again."
After officially taking ownership of the building in late-December, Worley and Reidy set out to fix up the ice arena, which is opened year-round.
"Their refrigeration was in rough shape, the zamboni was in rough shape," recalled Worley. "The building in general was just dirty and not in good shape."
After receiving a loan from NBT Bank, of who Worley said saw "the potential and they believe in the building, too," changes began to take shape at the center.
"We've put in a lot of carpet. we've put in a new scorers booth," Worley explained, adding new lights over the ice are also being added. "We've just done an awful lot of work."
Currently the arena is the home-ice for Beekmantown Central School, Saranac Central School, Plattsburgh Youth Hockey Road Runners, the Plattsburgh Junior Cardinals, and a men's league.
"It's a year-round facility, so we want to be kind of the place that everybody wants to come to play hockey," explained Worley. "We want to offer any of the teams, people, a clean environment."
However, hockey players won't be the only people benefitting from what the arena has to offer.
According to Worley, public skating and stick & puck games are currently being added to the calendar of events.
"Everyone has to wear a helmet," he explained of stick & puck. "You can go out with a stick and we put the nets out and some people dress as goalies so you can kind of fool around."
Worley sees the stick & puck as time for people to have pick-up games that children and adults can enjoy.
Rockin' Skates is another idea Worley and Reidy hope to see in the near-future.
"It's kind of the premise of roller-skating, but it's ice skating," Worley explained. "You go out on the ice and we'll turn the lights off and put in colored lights and a disco ball and music."
Worley plans to advertise Rockin' Skates as a place to go that will be drug- and alcohol-free.
Other programs the co-owners hope to promote will be hockey schools during the summer months. Reidy, who previously skated for the Plattsburgh State Cardinal Hockey Team and on the national championship team in the 80s, followed by playing a stint in the minors.
"He's got a lot of ties to NHL players," Worley explained. "People at that are still involved with junior hockey, right up through professional hockey."
Using his connections, Reidy plans to bring in Jerry Dineen, a coach for the New York Rangers, who also used to play on the Cardinal Hockey Team, to help with the hockey school.
"[Hockey] used to be much bigger," Worley explained. "When I was growing up, every town had a team."
Now, Worley has found with the expense of equipment and ice time, the number of people involved in the sport in recent years has lulled.
"The numbers are coming back and more parents seem to be getting involved," he said.
With parents becoming more involved, Worley has not forgotten them when planning out the additions to the building.
The center now has two new flat-screen televisions, which will air sports programs for parents to keep an eye on sports scores while waiting for their children.
"There's sports on all the time," laughed Worley. "You don't have to miss a game."
The new additions to the arena all add up to a place for children, and adults to have fun. Which is why birthday parties are also offered.
The parties are $15 per child, with a minimum of 10 children required.
"That also includes pizza, soda and a place to do your thing," said Worley.
For more information about the arena, including how to book a birthday party and calendar of events, visit http://ameri-cannorthsportscenter.com or call 561-7672.