By Jennifer Lamey
Bill Gray’s Iceplex offers fun-filled activities everyone will love. The 170,000 square foot, participatory sports facility is centrally located on the campus of Monroe Community College, in Rochester N.Y. “We are one of two facilities in the state that have 4 NHL size ice rinks. The facility is one of North America’s premier large-scale tournament venues, hosting numerous hockey events throughout the calendar year with teams competing from all over North America,” says Frank Carnevale, Program Manager. “We get 1.7 million annual visitors, which is the highest foot traffic of any venue in the greater Rochester area.”
But they’re not just for tournaments and events, “The Bill Gray’s Iceplex is a participatory facility as well, meaning people who come here aren’t always spectators. People come here to participate in a variety of programs and events that promote healthy and active lifestyles. On rink 4 we a have state-of-the-art custom LED lighting system. It is the only one of its kind, and has a color lighting feature that can be synchronized to the music we have playing during public skates, skating events, and any special events we have.” Carnevale stated.
The Iceplex also offers a lineup of classes in skating, figure skating, and hockey where students learn from expert instructors. “Our instructors are awesome. Since Hockey 101 is all young children, and Skating 101 is mostly young children (with a few teens and adults from time to time), it is important for us to have coaches that can work well with kids. Our Hockey 101 instructors have tons of background in the game of Hockey, and do a great job of keeping the kids engaged for the amount of time they are on the ice. Our Skating 101 course, headed by Alissa Calandra, also runs very well. She makes sure to break up the kids into groups based on their skating ability, and assigns coaches to each group in order to make the kids are as strong on the ice as they can be.” Carnevale stated.
And for adults that are ready to get out there and play too, the Never Ever League is ideal. This league “is for the adult who has never ever played hockey before. It combines off ice instruction with on ice skills sessions (80%), and instructional game time (20%). The program is co-ed, non-checking, for people over 18 years of age and is set in an insanely positive, judgment free atmosphere. No ice skating or hockey experience is required in order to participate. Over the course of the 11 week program, participants will learn the fundamental skills of ice hockey, make new friends and learn the greatest game on Earth. During the first few classes, instruction is focused on developing ice skating skills of all participants. In the following weeks, instruction shifts to teaching participants individual playing skills (stick handling, shooting, passing), before shifting into team skills and game play (offense, defense, power play, penalty kill). The final week would be their first Never Ever League Cup game. Families will be in attendance, the National Anthem will be played, and it is a great event to showcase the skills that have been learned over the 11 week session.” Carnevale explained.
Bill Gray’s Iceplex also hosts recreational and competitive hockey and broom ball leagues for all ages and skill levels.
The venue is great for large and small groups offering everything a group or event could need with meeting rooms that can accommodate 50 to 100 people, the possibility for expos, trade shows, and other large events on the rink’s smooth concrete floor. They also have a full concert flooring system and turf that can be used year round as well as audiovisual equipment. The on-site Bill Gray’s Restaurant and Tap Room is able to cater events of any size.
This venue is like no other. See for yourself at the 4th annual New Year’s Eve celebration, “First Night Rochester.” This year they will have three themed ice rinks for skating, a holiday rink with music and decor, a “decades” rink playing the hits, and a kiddie rink for families with young children and the fourth ice rink will be covered in a turf floor with bounce houses, music, and games. “We are anticipating 3,000 people at this event, and are very excited to continue this annual family experience.” Carnevale said. Families can learn more about the party at www.FirstNightRochester.com.
To learn more about Bill Gray’s Iceplex visit them online at www.BillGraysIceplex.com or in person at 2700 Brighton Henrietta Townline Rd. Rochester, NY 14623. (585) 424-4625.