Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater Ice Arena debuts new rink on Saturday

LARGO — In 1986, before Tampa Bay natives recognized Zamboni as more than a foreign word and lightning as more than a reason to run for cover, one of the first ice arenas in the state opened on Icot Boulevard. Its name was Sunblades, and its core customers were snowbirds and transplanted moms and dads craving to instill in the next generation a love for hockey, the sport they grew up with in places not so close to the equator.

Fast forward 30 years. The arena, now called the Clearwater Ice Arena and owned by radiologist Manuel Rose, has undergone a $5 million expansion that includes adding a second, larger rink. The new rink is 200 by 85 feet and meets National Hockey League requirements. It will be used for competitive hockey, figure skating and community recreational skating. The new structure, next door to the original rink, has the capacity to hold 1,200 people. An interior walkway links the two rinks, which will operate simultaneously, according to Darren Kempf, marketing director for Clearwater Ice Arena.

On Saturday, the new digs will be unveiled to the public at an open house. There will be tours, free skating on the new sheet of ice and appearances by Tampa Bay Lightning alumni Brian Bradley and Dave Andreychuk.

The expansion also includes new locker rooms, a fitness center (memberships cost about $149 per year), four party rooms and an off-ice training room with synthetic ice for shooting practice (rental fee is $35 per hour and can include up to five people).

A second level, an observation deck that has room for bleachers, wraps around about three-quarters of the rink.

Along with serving the community's hockey leagues, youth figure skaters and hockey players, the new rink will also serve as home rink for the University of Tampa.

Alex Carde, 21, is the president for the UT team, a club program with rivals including Michigan, University of North Carolina, Auburn and University of Miami.

"We are ranked No. 9 in our division currently, and we had been playing at the Brandon Ice Forum, and that's where we grew our fan base,'' Carde said. "We want to keep adding more teams, and teams are interested in coming to Clearwater. Clearwater Beach is considered a No. 1 beach in the country and that matters.''

The schedule for the open house Saturday includes free public skating from 1 to 7 p.m. Visitors can bring their own skates or rent skates for $5. Bradley will be skating from 2 to 2:30 p.m. (with an autograph session to follow). Andreychuk will be skating from 5 to 5:30 p.m. (with an autograph session to follow). At 7:30 p.m., the Police Officer Hockey Game, between Pinellas County and Hillsborough County law enforcement, will be held.

Other activities include Rolling Thunder interactive games and giveaways, appearances by the Tampa Bay Lightning's Lightning Girls and mascot Thunderbug.

Contact Piper Castillo at Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Editor's note – This story was changed to reflect the following correction: Darren Kempf is the marketing director for the Clearwater Ice Arena. His name was misspelled in an Aug. 19 article.

>>fast facts


Ice Arena

13940 Icot Blvd., Largo

Hours: 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. However, skaters are encouraged to check the website for a complete schedule at

Phone: (727) 536-5843

>>fast facts

Clearwater Ice Arena fees

Here is a breakdown of some of the fees: For public skating, $10 per session; unlimited freestyle figure skating, weekly pass $149;Stick 'n Shoot, $20 per session; adult pickup hockey, $20 per game with goalies free; adult leagues range in price from $200-$250 per skater for 14 games and playoffs.

Skate rentals are $5 per pair.

. fast facts

Clearwater Ice Arena

13940 Icot Blvd, Largo

Hours: Open 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. However, skaters are encouraged to check the website for a complete schedule:

Phone: (727) 536-5843

Clearwater Ice Arena debuts new rink on Saturday 08/18/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2016 3:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.