By Doug Halberstadt
Getting presented the key to the city is a pretty big honor. Many people have collected them. Getting a street named in your honor is even bigger. Only a few have experienced that honor. The Rockford Icemen are now among the few who know exactly how that feels.
Back in March, the Icemen won their 15th consecutive Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois State Championship. This year’s team and the 14 previous Icemen championship teams have been memorialized with an honorary street sign. The sign is directly in front of the Carlson Ice Arena, 4150 N. Perryville Road.
Icemen Hockey Coordinator and Varsity Head Coach Tim Mattila said, “It’s been quite a ride, and to see the team’s name daily when I drive in and out of this facility really means a lot to me and the many who have a connection to the Icemen.”
A group of nearly 100 people composed of Icemen from all 15 teams and members of their families gathered at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday, July 24. Following the ceremony, everyone was invited to take part in a cookout, and the Icemen had an alumni skating session.
The majority of the athletes on the Rockford Icemen hockey team begin their hockey careers in the Rockford Park District’s youth hockey program through Learn to Skate classes as well as the district’s recreational hockey league. When players progress in their skill levels, they typically join the Rockford Hockey Club for more game and practice experience before trying out for the Rockford Icemen hockey team. This progression represents the strong relationships the Rockford Park District, the Rockford Hockey Club, and the Rockford Icemen have in developing youth hockey players.
Eventually, signs may also be posted in conjunction with the Auto Park Drive sign that is at the intersection with Riverside Boulevard and also at the entrance to the arena off Perryville.
For more information, contact Jay Sandine at (815) 969-4072, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.