Whether it was lacing up the skates for the first time or playing some pickup hockey, Meriden and Southington residents took advantage of the recent cold spell to do some ice skating on area ponds and lakes.
A quiet, clear evening at Mirror Lake in Meriden’s Hubbard Park provided perfect practice conditions for 5-year-old Camilla Sita, a first-time ice skater.
“She loves being outside, this is working on balance and just enjoying some new sports,” said her aunt Ashley Brant, a Meriden resident.
Learning to skate means an occasional fall. Six-year-old Noah Ruiz, who had only skated once before, took it in stride.
For the Ruiz family, Mirror Lake is reminiscent of the past. Noah’s dad Carlos Ruiz used to skate on the lake in his youth around the time he met his now-wife, Amanda.
“I grew up in Meriden, I was an inline skater around the park. I didn’t start ice skating until she [Amanda Ruiz] and I got together in high school,” said Carlos Ruiz.
The family made the hour-long drive from Stafford to Hubbard Park recently.
“That’s why I’m teaching these kids how to ice skate,” said Carlos Ruiz. “To try something new, gain some confidence and the unknown. It’s fun to be able to do it with your siblings or your parents and have some good family time.”
In neighboring Southington, the puck dropped, not for an NHL game but for a pickup game among friends at the Memorial Park pond.
For Tony Palumbo, 23, of Southington, moments like these with a group of friends are special, especially in the winter months.
“It means getting outside in the winter, enjoying each other’s company on the ice and scoring goals,” said Palumbo.
Outdoor activities may be limited for friends or family during the winter but “it’s good to get out here” said 23-year-old Conor Brennan, prior to playing another pick-up game with Palumbo and friends.
Meriden’s Parks and Recreation Department posts regular updates on skating conditions at Mirror Lake on the department’s Facebook page. Southington’s Public Works Department assesses skating conditions at Memorial Park daily.