In Announcements

President’s Opening Letter

New Canaan Winter Club
604 Frogtown Road
New Canaan, CT 06840

September 1, 2017

Dear Winter Club Family,

I ran into a member last night, one of our fine local constables, and a friend, as we were dropping off our boys for flag football. I was thinking it amazing how quickly the calendar had looped around, spinning through spring and summer, soon to dial up Fall and then Winter and how I would in a matter of weeks be seeing you all on the rubber mats, inside the wooden timbers among the red and green banners.

And then our local constable said something to the effect of: “I bet you must be working on that opening letter. I can’t wait to see what you have to say. No pressure”.


I’ve done my two minutes in the box for hooking, a couple times for tripping and maybe once, just once, a full 5 minutes for roughing; but all I could think about what my officer friend would do if this letter didn’t measure up.

Would I get 3 to 5 for bad grammar? How about 7 years, releasable in 2 for interesting sentence structure? Or would it be life without parole for inexcusably boring content. I did not know…But then I thought about all the great things I did have to say and write about our Winter Club and I realized I’d be exonerated with only an admission of excitement.

The off-season, as you haul those mildewed bags from your basements and sharpen the dull from your blades, has been a busy one as we have continued to consolidate our ice time and its benefits at Darien Ice House. We moved to nearly complete the total overhaul of the machine room at Frogtown Road and continued to tweak our programs, building on the successes of both our figure skaters and their plethora of certifications (a major achievement and testament to Christi Jones as supported by the Figure Skating Chairs); as well as the additional banners brought home by our teams under the tuteledge of Clark Jones and our strongest, among the strong, coaching staff.

We had record participation last year in both disciplines of figure skating and hockey and even saw the old men push among the biggest numbers we have ever see on to the ice (in wheelchairs, walkers and laden with oxygen tanks). The women fielded their 2 teams and The Senior House League filled the usual 5 clubs, often going 20 deep on a bench.

Our numbers at The Club are great, and while we learned some interesting lessons as parents and family in dealing with a rapidly changing world, we met everything head on and with our village’s conviction.

Don’t get me wrong. There were mistakes had and I will shoulder the blame as a skater often does when losing his edge in the corner. I over corrected my turn only to find the hard landing off the boards and on the ice. But our Board, our Committees and you picked me up, dusted me off…and told me not to worry, there was plenty of room on the bench.

Seriously, now, we have a lot to do this season and we will certainly hope for better weather. We will ask Mother Nature for a Winter that allows us to open the pond, for snow during Friday and Saturday night skates and brilliant sunshine during those November to March days. Meanwhile as Justin keeps Frogtown Road humming along, with his Dad, Bruce back, and much more a fixture again at NCWC, we can do this as a result of a fantastic hire at DIH in Gary Belden as The Physical Rink Manager (introduce yourself next time you are down in Darien).

We will expect, as we have been spoiled to anticipate that Christi and Sabrina and Barrett and the crew will increase the number of young women who are certified this year, while Clark and Linde, Greenie and Luce with our other coaches (all of whom we are darn lucky to have) drive our young players to be better athletes and winners: importantly, as much off, as on the ice.

We are giving relief to 3 long serving Board Members in Tina Miller, John Almeida and Sean Duane and welcoming 3 new ones in Greg Etheridge, our new Treasurer (no goodbyes for Glen Reid yet); Elizabeth Vigano, our new Co-Head of Figure Skating, and Dan O’Shea as head of Men’s Hockey.

Without these many volunteers our club would cease to run, so our thanks as a family is more than sincere, it is heartfelt.

So, back to the fall: it is here.

I could smell wood burning in fireplaces around the neighborhood and all I could think of is seeing each and every one of you on Frogtown Road, assuming our local constable doesn’t pull me over for speeding, as it’s only September.

Here’s to a great season and a greater, tighter family of successes in 2017-2018.

And remember, at The Winter Club, not everyone gets a trophy. They get something better…They get a family.

Tom Crystal


P.S. As I sat down to write this note, Jen Rayher and The House Committee informed me that the NCWC Opening Party will be November 11th. So, mark it in your diaries!