Hockey is not the most popular sport in Conway, N.H., and it might never be considering the town is surrounded by several ski resorts. Ever since Ham Arena opened its doors, though, the Mount Washington Valley ski town has developed a growing case of hockey fever.
Darrell Umlah helped spark the hockey epidemic in town. Fueled by his wish to see his son skate at an indoor arena in town instead of the outdoor rink at Schouler Park, Umlah began his mission to create Ham Arena in 1996. Through Umlah’s efforts and funds raised solely from private donations, the rink opened in December 1998.
"Getting that back in ’98, being a state-of-the-art facility — one of the nicest arenas in the state — certainly drives kids toward trying hockey," said Mike Lane, who coaches the Kennett High School boys hockey team.