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Alm’s barn on Route 430 housed area’s first indoor hockey rink decades ago – Evening Observer

John Alm

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Recognized by many as the “father of youth hockey,” John Alm was a major force in bringing an artificial ice surface into the city of Jamestown. Long before that ice rink — Allen Park — became a reality, Alm took matters into his own hands and built one himself — inside his barn in Driftwood on Route 430. Alm passed away Monday at 92. Given his commitment to skating and hockey, it was deemed appropriate to run this article, which first appeared in The Post-Journal on Jan. 22, 2006, again.

The year was 1966.

There was no Jamestown Savings Bank Arena

Heck, Allen Park didn’t even have an indoor ice rink.

With several outdoor skating venues and not a single indoor ice rink in the area, a local man decided to turn a falling-down barn into what many saw as a treasure.

From 1966 until 1975, John Alm would transform his barn into the area’s only covered ice rink for public skating during the winter. With a narrow creek running behind the barn, Alm put one end of a 50-yard fire hose into the running water and the other end into the building. If more water was needed, Alm would fill buckets up in his home sink and throw it onto the ice surface – sometimes upsetting his wife as there was not enough water for a shower.

Today, the barn stands on Route 430 and barely resembles what it once was with roof shingles laying where the ice surface once was. But, anyone who entered the barn in the mid-1960s, remembers exactly what the barn once looked like.

After entering the front door, there was a “main office,” which served as a ticket window, snack bar, skate rental/sharpener and pro shop.

There were old wooden shelves built pretty high to house the rented hockey and figure skates. Though the skates were noticeably well used, they served their purpose for general skating and hockey beginners.

The main office was a poor excuse for a pro shop as Alm had rudimentary equipment such as shin guards, elbow pads, helmets, gloves and sticks for sale – all of which were mostly used.

Tim Smith, who skated at the barn for several years and later became a member of Jamestown’s first youth hockey team, gave his recollection of the pro shop:

“The room itself was pretty cluttered, and back then reminded me somewhat of the kind of basement or garage workshop that seemed to have everything a father or grandfather needed, but only he could find,” he said. “It was dusty and rustic, much as you’d expect inside a barn. But we loved that shop.”

After passing the pro shop, there was a narrow hallway that led to a set of dark, steep stairs leading to the ice rink. The stairs never failed to scare newcomers.

Once the terrifying walk down the stairs was conquered, the artificial rink appeared. Off to the side of the rink, there were four separate rooms for the kids to put their belongings as many of them came to the rink already dressed with a pair of skate guards on. The four rooms were converted storage rooms.

Despite league games being played at the barn, the ice surface was not standard size. With …….

Source: https://www.observertoday.com/sports/local-sports/2022/08/alms-barn-on-route-430-housed-areas-first-indoor-hockey-rink-decades-ago/

John Alm

EDITOR’S NOTE: Recognized by many as the “father of youth hockey,” John Alm was a major force in bringing an artificial ice surface into the city of Jamestown. Long before that ice rink — Allen Park — became a reality, Alm took matters into his own hands and built one himself — inside his barn in Driftwood on Route 430. Alm passed away Monday at 92. Given his commitment to skating and hockey, it was deemed appropriate to run this article, which first appeared in The Post-Journal on Jan. 22, 2006, again.

The year was 1966.

There was no Jamestown Savings Bank Arena

Heck, Allen…….

John Alm

EDITOR’S NOTE: Recognized by many as the “father of youth hockey,” John Alm was a major force in bringing an artificial ice surface into the city of Jamestown. Long before that ice rink — Allen Park — became a reality, Alm took matters into his own hands and built one himself — inside his barn in Driftwood on Route 430. Alm passed away Monday at 92. Given his commitment to skating and hockey, it was deemed appropriate to run this article, which first appeared in The Post-Journal on Jan. 22, 2006, again.

The year was 1966.

There was no Jamestown Savings Bank Arena

Heck, Allen…….

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