Ryde Arena has been a big part of my life, and has a big piece of my heart. It started as a child with the Friday night discos, the school ice skating lessons and the big concerts that my parents took me to— not to mention going to see The Raiders play hockey. When I was 18 I moved off the Island for quite some time, but when I came back happily married in 2010, I dragged my new husband along to the Ice Hockey and we loved it. We loved supporting a local team, there was always such a great atmosphere and sense of comaraderie in the arena and we made many friends.
We continued to attend the hockey together and in 2012, I attended the hockey games in an increasingly pregnant state, eventually going into labour at a match in late December. (I joked that I would name the baby after the entire team!) Our new born son was treated to his first hockey match at 2 weeks old and has been coming along ever since. My husband eventually decided that his love affair with hockey had run its course, but I continued to take my son to the hockey most Saturdays, brilliant Mother and Son time. (And if I didn't take him, a great opportunity for me to let my hair down!)
It is so heartbreaking trying to explain to my young son why he can now no longer go to see the hockey, why he can never have the opportunity to learn to skate or play hockey as he wanted to. The best I can do is tell him that bad people have the rink, and we are trying to get it back from them. Very simplistic, but it's the truth.