President’s Opening Letter
New Canaan Winter Club
604 Frogtown Road
New Canaan, CT 06840
September 1, 2018
Dear Winter Club Family,
Okay, before you start calling the National Weather Service or USAH. I don’t really have the conditions squared away or set for our 2018-2019 season, but it seemed like a good idea when I tweeted it.
Seriously, all we can hope for after the most bizarre stretch of weather that I can remember (winter in one month, and a late month at that, followed by more rain in a summer than New Delhi in monsoon season); is some normalcy.
Here is to a winter which gets cold enough to allow us a few weeks on the pond, watching our skaters shuffle from the rink, down the rubber steps and out onto that most natural of surfaces, the pond, on which they can tire themselves for hours while some brave Moms and Dads join them for 20 on 20 melees of pure joy in an afternoon pick up game. Here is to a winter which gives us snow, not the snow that shuts The Town down and causes the shelves of Acme and Walter Stewart to be depleted of all their goods, but in which a Friday and Saturday night free skate benefits from those wafting flakes of snow our young skaters can dodge as they ring the rink or can catch in their mouths as they stand around to socialize with each other. Here is to a winter which allows us to get through all our competitions, whether Figure Skating of Hockey, at The Rink, not scrambling to find ice in some far-flung territory.
Now that we have sorted that, let’s quickly run through a few things I’d like you to know. First, if you are not aware of it, the hockey landscape in our immediate region changed dramatically, and really served to emphasize the tremendous foresight and decision making of our previous Heads of The Club in taking the lease at Darien Ice House. SONO was bought by a new group, which immediately forced the exit of a lot of the existing staff and programs, as they sought to remake the rink in their own vision. This caused a knock-on effect (which, combined with the continued issues at Veteran’s Park) in which DYHA felt they had to purchase a stake in Stamford Twin Rinks to control that ice and their own program’s destiny. And the ball rolled downhill, with further effects for other programs. The-end-result is there is not nearly enough ice in the area, and our decision to take on the lease at Darien to ensure our play and our numbers playing, no matter what the hour (and, yes, given our numbers, we must use all those hours, running up to 10 pm), was well thought out.
In the off-season, preparing for this coming season Clark and Christi were hard at work, running camps and clinics, securing some amazing new coaches, and mapping out a further roll-out of their vision/our vision for skating and hockey development at The Club. Yes, we lost some coaches to other programs (they were moves that made sense for those individuals and not for us in trying to retain them by any means – some things just happen for a reason – Buddha’s lesson number one for today). The folks coming in to replace those who departed will add new skills and new blood, which is always a good thing. So, I know you will welcome them, as new faces, as you would those who return, and will those who are returning.
Paul Tully and Justin and his team replaced another major component of our ice making machinery, and we now stand on the precipice of being done in the engine room. Next year’s replacement of the electrical board, being the last major project on route to putting The Club in place for a “running” facility for the next 15-20 years.
Katrina Parkhill, as she handed off the reigns to Amanda Zorumski as the new Head of the Membership Committee (Welcome Amanda!), left us with a robust list of prospective members and a finely tuned process aided by her strong committee. Thank you for everything you did, Katrina…Whitney Lancaster passed the baton to Christie Gammill to join Elizabeth Vigano as a Co-Head of Figure Skating, and, in working with Christi (Jones), increased the focus and number of skating programs to better prep our young skaters for their journeys ahead while also moving our programs from effectively zero badges recognizing skating milestones to a treasure trove of accolades of excellence. Thank you, Whiney! (Welcome Christie!) Brock Saxe, who has served this Board in so many ways, under the radar, from managing the needs of 626 Frogtown to attending Town Planning Meetings to ensuring there was wifi for the Rangers playoff game, thought he was getting away with a “thank you for your service”, but has agreed to serve one more year to continue to add his skills and services. So, while I will say a much earned “thank you”, I will also say “see you this season”.
Now I could spend paragraph upon paragraph thanking the other Board Members, The HPC, The Membership Committee, The House Committee, Figure Skating, Treasury, SHL, Men’s, Scheduling, The Long Range Planning Committee. Grounds, Justin and his Staff and the other, many volunteers; but, frankly, that is what this Club, this Family, is about: giving back, volunteering.
Yes, we are all busy in our daily lives. We run families (according to Dr. Flynn, the average family size in New Canaan consists of 2 adults and 4 children). We run businesses. We coach other sports. We cheer on our kids at those sports. We serve on committees for churches and schools, etc. We do this because it makes for a better Town and a better experience for us and our children.
The Winter Club is no different. It needs you. We need you. Reach out, ask to help, volunteer
So, while I am not ready for the leaves to drop, for the ice at Frogtown to be laid and the snow shovel to become a regular appendage; I am ready to pull into that parking lot on Frogtown to see so many friendly faces and friends, to hear whistles blowing and to glance on red rosy faces. I am ready to be back with my winter family, at my winter home, with you.
Here is to a great 2018-2019, and remember (come, sing along with me): At The Winter Club not everyone gets a trophy, but they get something better: they get a family.