ALAMEDA -- The Little Ice Rink at Alameda's South Shore Center held a pre-opening on Nov. 15, and the evening event capped the cooperative efforts of Ice America, Jamestown Properties, and Perforce Software to bring an ice rink back to Alameda for the second year in a row.
Ice America's owners Tom Kearney and Scott Williams, both former professional figure skaters themselves, were on hand to present their guests with the people who made this year's rink a reality.
Kearney walked on to the ice with a microphone in hand to officially begin the opening. He introduced Scott Landsittel from Jamestown Properties, who said a few words about the synergy with which the rink works in tandem with the South Shore Shopping Center. Christopher Seiwald, founder of Perforce Software, then came out on the ice to say a few words about how the ice rink returned to Alameda.
"We've had a lot of people talk to us about how much they loved it and when it would happen again," said Seiwald, referring to last year's rink at a different location. "We thought it'd be a one hit wonder. But an outpouring of support turned out to make it happen again."
Kearney then returned to the ice to present both Seiwald and Carrie Ewing, vice president of operations at Perforce, a commemorative plaque in appreciation of their efforts. Photos were taken, which were followed by Scott Williams stepping forward to cut a red ribbon across the rink's entrance to officially open the ice.
Professional ice skaters Michael Chack and Ashley Clark came forward as the first people to skate on the ice. Both skaters first performed their own solo routines, sticking their maneuvers with all of the elegance and strength one expects of what Williams' called, "the best in the business." Clark even stepped it up with a surprise back flip toward the end of her routine, which was met with exuberant cheering and applause from the crowd.
After completing their solo routines, the skaters came out again to skate the ice together as a couple.
Clark, who has won two gold medals in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, said it was a pleasure to help break in the ice.
"We're so excited to be here," Clark said.
Chack, who has toured with Clark and other members of Ice America around the world, said the rink provides a positive holiday getaway for the local residents.
"It's a great way to start the holiday," said Chack, the 1993 bronze medalist in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. "It takes away from the stress of the daily grind."
Once the professional act was complete, the audience was invited to strap on their skates and take to the ice themselves to properly welcome the new rink. Holding hands, laughing, and pushing each other on bobbies, the guests enjoyed the free skate tremendously.
"This community is so supportive," Williams said. "It's always great to be in a business where everyone shows up to have fun."
Kearney concurred, praising the environment Alameda provides.
"This city is by far my favorite," Kearney said. "I hope we're building a tradition here, and that we'll be doing this for many years to come."