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Public Invited to Golden Celebration of Loring Arena Saturday, March 1

Saturday, March 1 the Town of Framingham will hold a public celebration to make the 50th anniversary season of Loring Arena, including a free skate, a figure skating exhibition and a police vs fire ice hockey game.

Edward F. Loring Arena
Edward F. Loring Arena
In 1960, Framingham resident Richard Rodenhiser won a gold medal with his fellow U.S. Olympic Hockey teammates in Squaw Valley, California.

The following year, Framingham High School's ice hockey team won the state title, under head coach Edward F. Loring.

During the season, the team traveled to Worcester for 4:30 a.m. practices, said Framingham Parks & Recreation Director Robert Merusi.

Hockey crazed Framingham decided after that state championship, the Town of Framingham deserved to have it own rink.

Town Meeting agreed. But to construct a rink required approval of the state. The Town received that too. And so $535,000 was authorized to construct a Town of Framingham ice rink.

Sadly, Loring was diagnosed with liver cancer during his state championship season and died in 1962, at the young age of 42.

Thus, when the rink construction was completed, the rink was named in his honor.

Edward F. Loring Arena officially opened on Nov. 30, 1963, with a huge dedication, figure skating demonstration and a exhibition Framingham Youth Hockey games.

Today,  only 2 percent of the rinks built in the 1960s still exist and Edward F. Loring Arena is among them, said Merusi.

Saturday, March 1 the Town of Framingham will hold a public celebration to make the 50th anniversary season of Loring Arena.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Noon to 1:45 p.m. Free public skating. Bring your own skates or rent for a fee.
  • 2 to 2:30 p.m. North Star Figure Skating Club exhibition show
  • 2:40 to 3:50 p.m. Framingham Youth Hockey game, featuring kids under age 8.
  • 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Meet 1960 Olympic gold medal and 1956 Olympic silver medal winner and Framingham resident Rodenhiser, who became Loring's first manager in 1963.
  • 4 to 5 p.m. Framingham Police hockey team vs Framingham Fire hockey team exhibition game. Fans are asked to bring a canned or non-perishable food item for the Pearl Street Cupboard & Cafe.
Over the years, Loring Arena has seen countless skaters and games. For years, it hosted the Bay Path Figure Skating Club, a semi-professional hockey team, Framingham Youth Hockey and of course the Framingham Flyers.

Today, the Bay Path Figure Skating Club has merged into the North Stars Figure Skating Club. 

The Framingham Flyers include not only junior varsity and varsity boys ice hockey but also a very successful Framingham High girls ice hockey team. This year, both team made the state playoffs.

And of course, Loring is still home ice for Framingham Youth Hockey. Annually, more than 650 kids participate in the program, including more than 200 beginners, ages 5, 6 and 7.

Current rink manager Richard Weston said annually more than 9,000 skaters touch the ice each season, including this year U.S. National Figure Skating Ladies Senior Champion and 2014 Olympic Figure Skater Gracie Gold.

There are popular public skating hours weekly and a very popular parks & recreation learn to skate program, too.

And between skaters and spectators, 50,000 people annually visit Loring Arena, said Weston.

And true to what the community wanted 50 years ago, most of the skaters who touch the ice hail from Framingham or have a Framingham connection, said Merusi.

Edward F. Loring Arena is the home ice of the Framingham Flyers, Framingham Youth Hockey, Marian High School, Framingham State University and Ashland High School.

Over the years, the rink was home ice for Peter A. Taglianetti, who skated for Framingham High and Providence College and won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburg Penguins in 1991 & 1992.

Taglianetti brought "The Cup" to Framingham afterwards said Merusi. It made it way to Loring, a few bars around town and even was dunked in Lake Waushakum by Merusi, said Merusi.

Recently, hundreds of Framingham Youth Hockey players had an opportunity to pose with the Stanley Cup when it made a return visit to Loring Arena, after the Boston Bruins won the Cup in 2011. This time there was much more security with the Stanley Cup, joked Merusi.

Parks & Recreation Administrative Assistant Maria Soma skated at Loring as a youth and with Bay Bath Figure Skating Club. She later went on to be a part of the Ice Capades in 1986. Her sister Jean skated with the Ice Capades from 1973-1976, her sister Kitty skated with them around 1979-1980, said Merusi. The sisters, who all started out with Bay Path Figure Skating Club, however, never toured together.

Started in 1940 in Hershey, Pennsylvannia, the Ice Capades was a traveling ice show that featured Olympic and National champions as well as other skaters. It lasted until 1995.

In its 50th year, Loring Arena, however, needs repairs and is experiencing growing pains. There are gender and equity issues, handicapped access issue and a few health and safety issues that need to be corrected, explained Merusi and Weston.

Framingham Parks & Recreation is proposing renovations. The cost is an estimate $5 to $5.5 million.

But once completed Loring would be worth almost $15 million; which is what a new rink would cost today to build.

D Penta February 25, 2014 at 06:38 AM
Loring is a great asset for Framingham.

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