As hockey people from New England, we spend an awful lot of time sitting in rinks throughout the year.
Players, coaches, parents, fans. No matter what category you fall into, there is no doubt that few regions in the country have as much passion for the game at all levels — from the youth and high school levels to colleges and the Boston Bruins — as New England.
As time has changed, though, so have the places we play and watch the game as well as what consumers are looking for in and around the rink. New rinks and expansion projects have been unveiled throughout the region in recent years, adding a bit of glitz and glamour to the storied New England hockey scene.
“Having a sheet of ice is great, but it’s about everything else today,” said Chris Collins, who handles strategic consulting and development services for the Massachusetts-based Edge Sports Group, seeing several recent projects come off the ground including Essex Sports Center in Middleton, Mass., Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center and Wellesley Sports Center, all with the use of unique public-private community partnerships.