Curling “sweeps” into Plymouth

April 9th, 2014 by Michael

    by Joshua Spaulding

    As spring attempts to make its way into the Plymouth area, Sunday afternoon saw more than 30 people taking to the ice of the Hanaway Rink at the Plymouth State University Ice Arena.

    Many meeting for the first time that day, the folks were coming from various portions of the community to open up a Sunday afternoon curling league.

    This group joined another league playing from 6 to 8 p.m., as well as leagues running on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m.

    “It’s been bigger than I ever could’ve imagined,” said arena manager Dave Gyger. “We’re opening up more practice day because people want it.”

    Amazingly enough, curling at the PSU arena started just eight weeks ago, but buoyed by the televised matches from the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in February, the program has burgeoned and has become a huge hit at the arena.

    Gyger was working in Waterville Valley about 10 years ago when they hosted Scottish Games. The Belfast Curling Club came to do a demonstration and Gyger was determined that he would get a club going locally at some point.

    “Ever since, it’s always been in my head, if I got to a place where I could, this was something I wanted to do,” he said.

    The arena held an intro to curling class and more than 230 people showed up for the class.

    About 60 percent of those people signed up to continue on with league play and there is currently more than 100 participants in the league play.

    “For the first year, this is unbelievable,” Gyger said as he looked across the ice at the 32 people with smiles on their face enjoying the afternoon. “It’s an absolute roaring success.”

    Gyger noted that none of the success the program has seen would be possible without the support of the university and the Mount Washington Valley Curling Club, based out of the Ham Arena in Conway. That club started a few years ago and has been moving along nicely.

    Gyger noted that the MWV group was instrumental in helping to teach the PSU arena staff how to teach the game and lots of the basics. Some of the MWV members were in attendance on Sunday afternoon participating in league play.

    “They’ve really helped us along,” Gyger said. “MWV has been unbelievable.”

    The university purchased the four sets of stones needed to hold four matches at one time on the ice surface. Each match includes 16 stones (eight for each team), so a total of 64 stones were purchased, the largest expense of starting the club.

    “This wouldn’t be possible without the support of the university,” Gyger said. “We’re very fortunate for their support.”

    Making ice for the curling is also a bit different than normal. The zamboni runs a dry run over the ice, not putting down water, but just scraping up the “snow” left from whatever activity was on the ice previously. Staff members then take out backpacks full of water and essentially spray water drops onto the surface. Curling requires a surface loaded with tiny bumps and the water droplets freeze and provide that surface.

    Gyger also pointed out that the curling program is just another way to get people into the arena, and that’s always the goal.

    “The community outreach that we are able to get with this has been great,” Gyger continued. “It’s bringing people into the facility, they get to experience the building and hopefully they come back.”

    And Gyger notes that there have been a lot of great moments in the first few weeks of the program.

    He recounts a group from the Beckett School that plays on Tuesday night. The group includes people dealing with disabilities and he said the excitement on their faces as they played a great match just a week earlier was fantastic.

    But perhaps Gyger’s favorite story helped to hammer home that the curling program he brought to the arena was a sure-fire success.

    He relays a story of a gentleman coming off the ice, someone he hadn’t met and who didn’t know who he was. Gyger asked him what he thought of the program.

    “He said, ‘I have not seen so many people smile for such a long period,'” Gyger relayed. “That was a nice compliment to get from a perfect stranger.”

    The PSU arena can be reached at 535-2758. For those who missed the intro to curling classes, the arena will be offering drop-in curling on Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m.

    Curling coming to PSU Ice Arena in March

    February 6th, 2014 by Michael

      Curling coming to PSU Ice Arena in March

      January 29th, 2014 by Michael

        World class ice dancing comes to Plymouth

        October 4th, 2013 by Lynn

          PLYMOUTH STATE University will host the Ice Theater of New York for a skating performance on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. COURTESY

          PLYMOUTH — The world’s premier ice dance company, Ice Theater of New York, will perform at Plymouth State University in conjunction with their Boston appearance.

          On Sunday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m., the ensemble will perform works that integrate the sensibilities of contemporary dance, music and art. Hailed by The New York Times as one of the top ten theater picks in New York City, Ice Theater acts challenge the conventional definitions of figure skating and are exciting and beautiful to watch.

          Works include a viewing of ballet great, Edward Villella’s, new piece, “Reveries.” Noted dance chorographers, JoAnna Mendl Shaw and Alberto Del Saz are also represented. The ensemble’s Artistic Director, Douglas Webster, will showcase his highly acclaimed, “Unforgettable” performed by Ryan Bradley, the United States Men’s Champion. In addition, Bradley will skate his new piece entitled “Roots.”

          The Company is an ensemble of international skating champions, including: U.S. Men’s Champion, Ryan Bradley, U.S. Bronze Medalists, World Team Members, Kim Navarro, Eve Chalom, and Brent Bommentre, stars of “Stars on Ice,” and currently featured in “Aerial Ice” on “America’s Got Talent.”

          From abroad John Kerr, the seven-time British Dance Champion, Elisa Angeli, the Italian Champion, and Grand Prix Members, Carly Donowick and Jonathon Hunt will also perform. Other artists in the Ensemble are national competitors and elite dancers Erin Reed, Joel Dear, Patrick Connelly, Tyrrell Green, Jessica Renee Hunt and Natalia Zaitseva.

          Founded in 1984 by Moira North, Ice Theater of New York’s mission is to elevate dance on ice as a performance art. ITNY presents ice dance that opens one’s eyes to seeing skating in unexpected ways.

          As a part of the Ice Theater’s mission, the company reaches out to the next generation of skaters and audiences with education and training programs in Plymouth. The Ninth State Movement Complex is presenting the Ice Dance program and is promoting it to youths and families in the area.

          The Dance Department at Plymouth State University will be observing the performance and also meeting with the ice dancers. Ice club members from around New Hampshire will also be attending the performance. A Master Class will also be conducted at the arena preceding the performance.

          For ticket information contact may be made at: or by calling 536-8902.


          PSU, Northeast Delta Dental team up for community skating party Aug. 30

          August 19th, 2013 by Lynn

            DAVID GYGER, PSU ice arena manager; Tammie Croft, senior account manager, Northeast Delta Dental; Stephen Barba, PSU executive director of university relations and John Scheinman, PSU major gifts officer at Plymouth State University’s Hanaway Rink. COURTESY

            PLYMOUTH — The public is invited to celebrate the partnership of Northeast Delta Dental and Plymouth State University at the Northeast Delta Dental Community Skating Party on Friday, Aug. 30 at Plymouth State’s Ice Arena.

            The party will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Hanaway Rink at PSU Ice Arena, on Holderness Road, one-quarter mile west of Exit 25 off I-93.

            Free skate rental, door prizes and giveaways will be offered throughout the afternoon. Appearances by the organizations’ mascots — Molly the Molar and Pemi the Panther — are planned with a special guest appearance by Fungo, mascot of the NH Fisher Cats, at 3 p.m. Complimentary refreshments begin at 4 p.m.

            Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. There are no advance registrations or tickets required.

            Northeast Delta Dental provides comprehensive dental insurance for individuals and families and organizations of all sizes in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and generously supports the arena’s programs and operations. Many of these programs are open to the public and promote a healthy, active lifestyle for New Hampshire’s citizens and families.

            “We are extremely proud and fortunate to partner with a generous corporate citizen like Northeast Delta Dental to offer quality wellness programs to the campus and the community,” said PSU President Sara Jayne Steen. “I have always been impressed with their deep commitment to do what they can to enrich the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities in northern New England.”

            Northeast Delta Dental President & CEO Tom Raffio explained, “We are a values-driven business and one of our values is to invest ourselves in the communities we serve in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. Supporting Plymouth State’s initiatives around health and wellness is a great fit for Northeast Delta Dental and our mission to promote oral health, an important element to overall physical health.”

            The Plymouth State University Ice Arena is the first of four planned phases to build a state-of-the-art Center for Active Living, Learning, and Wellness (ALLWell). Along with new space for athletic, recreation, and adventure programs, ALLWell includes new facilities for PSU’s third largest major, Health and Human Performance. Northeast Delta Dental’s support for the ALLWell project is acknowledged with a permanent sign at the public entrance to the arena.

            “We are inviting the public to a free Community Skating Party as a way to express our deep appreciation for Northeast Delta Dental and their many contributions to the well-being of this and hundreds of other New England communities,” added Steen.

            For more information about the Northeast Delta Dental Skating Party, call John Scheinman at 535- 2805.



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