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‘WINTER BLAST’ Annual Opening Celebration

By January 15, 2016No Comments


Family fun winter activities brought to you by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY, the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association and Hasek’s Heroes, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the Buffalo Sabres and Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo

BUFFALO, NY — Weather permitting, old-fashioned pond skating returns to the MLK, Jr Park ice rink on Monday, January 18 at the 2nd annual ‘Winter Blast’ celebration on MLK Day.

“Record-breaking temperatures resulted in record-breaking ice skating attendance at MLK, Jr. Park last season and we’re anticipating another successful year on the ice,” said Mayor Byron Brown noting the overall success of the $4.5 million all-season water attraction at MLK Park. “Thanks to our successful partnership with BlueCross BlueShield of WNY and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, city residents and visitors can enjoy this wonderful historic outdoor winter destination.”

Monday, January 18, 2015, will mark the official annual opening of the MLK, Jr. park ice rink, a designated BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Zone. ‘Winter Blast’ celebration is brought to you by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the City of Buffalo and, this year, the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association and Hasek’s Heroes. A press conference will be held at 11:00 a.m. and the event will run from 11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

“We are pleased to support MLK, Jr. Park’s ice rink as a BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Zone,” stated Julie Snyder, vice president, corporate relations with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “We invested here to create and encourage children and adults to stay active throughout all four seasons, be healthy, and to support one of the city’s greatest assets, Buffalo’s Olmsted Park System. Thanks to Mayor Brown and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, this partnership will continue to benefit our community.”

Weather permitting, ‘Winter Blast’ healthy activities will include an ice, or street, hockey clinic with Buffalo Sabre alumni, the BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Zone Cruiser, a winter dodge ball zone, face painting, Sabretooth from the Buffalo Sabres, hot cocoa and healthy snacks. The family fun activities are free and open to the public.

“Collaboration has been the key to this successful park feature, and we are fortunate to have strong leaders and partners at the city and BlueCross BlueShield who support it,” said Stephanie Crockatt, Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy’s executive director. “We cannot thank Mayor Brown enough for revitalizing this historic feature, and Dave Anderson for the corporate commitment of this designated healthy zone from BlueCross BlueShield of WNY. And this year the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association and Hasek’s Heroes are here to help kick off the season with a hockey clinic — it’s simply a tremendous group of partners for our parks! Please come out and enjoy this free, healthy, beautiful space.”

Regular ice rink hours will be from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will also be open both Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5:30 p.m. Skating will be weather dependent — for ice rink conditions, call 838-1249 ext. 17. A list of rules, posted at the entrance of the ice rink, includes the following:

  • Everyone must sign in to gain admittance
  • Skate with the flow of skaters
  • Children under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult

“We are honored to be a part of ‘Winter Blast’ 2016,” said Scott McManigle, Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association and Hasek’s Heroes program director. “This is the true definition of a community event. With the recent growth of the City of Buffalo, it is easy to see how the Olmsted parks contribute to that growth. This event will allow the local businesses, students, foundations and professional sports organizations to come together to benefit our children.”

The ice rink is part of the city’s $4.5 million all-season water attraction that opened as a splash pad during the summer of 2013, and as a reflecting pool during the spring and fall. Located in the heart of one of Buffalo’s historic Olmsted parks, the ice rink is part of a larger plan for the MLK, Jr. Park neighborhood that lays the groundwork to attract new residents and business owners who want to live, work and invest in Buffalo.

MLK, Jr. Park ice skating history
The present brick casino building was constructed between the lily pond and the wading pool in 1926. In 1956, the first of Buffalo’s refrigerated outdoor artificial ice rinks was constructed on the site of the lily basin. The lily basin was partly filled and a wading pool was constructed at its eastern end. The wading pool was partially filled, and transformed into a smaller circular concrete “spray pool,” while its grand dimensions and grassy banks were retained.

About BlueCross BlueShield of WNY
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a division of HealthNow New York Inc., one of New York’s leading health care companies that provides access to quality health care and innovative solutions for members throughout upstate New York. Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, the company is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association.

About the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire urban park system that consists of 850 acres of beautifully designed parks, parkways and circles. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is a not-for-profit, membership-based, community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance, and maintain the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks and parkways in the Greater Buffalo area for current and future generations. More than 2.5 million people use Buffalo’s historic, award-winning Olmsted Park System annually for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation. The parks were designed by America’s first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted more than 145 years ago. Basic maintenance of the parks has been greatly improved since the 2004 groundbreaking public/private agreement with the City of Buffalo and Erie County. Since that time, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, now partnering with the City of Buffalo, has retained full responsibility for the management and care of these green spaces which are listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Most recently, the American Planning Association recognized Delaware Park as one of the 2014 Great Places in America and The Guardian named the Olmsted park system as one of the best park systems in the world.

The Buffalo Olmsted Park System includes:
Six Parks:
Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo, Delaware Park in Delaware/Parkside District, Front Park at the Peace Bridge, Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Fillmore Avenue, Riverside Park at Niagara and Tonawanda Street, South Park at McKinley Parkway
Seven Parkways:
Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln, McKinley, Porter, Red Jacket, and Richmond
Eight Landscaped Circles:
Agassiz, Colonial, Ferry, Gates, McClellan, McKinley, Soldiers, and Symphony

About Hasek’s Heroes
Established in 2001, the Hasek’s Heroes program provides to economically under privileged boys and girls ages 4 to 16 the opportunity to learn how to skate and play hockey. Hasek’s Heroes, a 501(c)3 foundation, provides all equipment to their players in order to participate in the program for free. The foundation was formed specifically for families that were struggling to financially afford a traditional hockey program.