Plea for help: Passionate group determined to save ice sports in Penrith

Members of the Western Sydney Ice Sports Co-operative at Penrith Ice Palace.
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With the doors of Penrith Ice Palace set to close forever at the end of June, local sporting clubs have banded together to save ice sports in western Sydney.

After being sold last year, the newly formed Western Sydney Ice Sports Co-operative has been raising money to rent and run the ice-skating rink.

While it appears a lease agreement won’t be reached with the new owner, Sydney Ice Theatre Club President and ice-skating coach Linda Aubrecht told the Weekender the group wants to find a solution for the community.

“Three ice hockey clubs, broomball, Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club and Sydney Ice Theatre have come together to create the Co-op and pool funds,” she said.

“We are trying everything we can including a few last-minute leads to save Penrith rink but if not, we will be looking to open our own ice rink.”

With the Co-op also contacting State and Local Government for any assistance, it is looking for donations for its cause.

“The Co-operative is currently looking for another venue in our region to fit out as an ice rink from scratch, but it is a huge task and a lot of money,” she said.

“We are not able to get a bank loan of that amount being newly formed, so we need help getting started.”

With over 400 combined members within the clubs involved, Ms Aubrecht said the closure of the rink will be devastating to the ice sports community.

“Blacktown and Norwest have already closed. Penrith is the last Olympic size rink in western Sydney and the other rinks like Liverpool are at capacity,” she said.

“Broomball is also a unique sport played around Australia but in New South Wales, Penrith is the only rink it is played at, so it could be lost altogether.”

As Winter Sports World is still possibly years away from completion, the teams will continue to try to save their sports.

“If we started right now, it would mean time off the ice for our skaters and players, but we are hopeful that we will find a solution,” she said.

“Our vision is that we can run a not-for-profit organisation where you can go for school sport, birthday parties, a fun family activity and of course for sport.”

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