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Roller skating takes over Essex arena



by Adam Gault

The spirit of the 1970s has a new home in Essex for the duration of the summer.  Weekly roller skating nights are taking over the Essex Centre Sports Complex every Wednesday evening.

While the Town of Essex was in search of new programs to offer the community that would encourage physical and social activity, there were several requests from Essex residents to make use of the arena in the hockey off-season in the form of recreational roller skating.

“The area isn’t very well used in the summer, so this is another way to get more use out of that facility,” Essex Assistant Manager of Programs, Jason Jolicoeur, explained. “Our hope was that families would come out and all the kids and mom and dad would be active.”

Now entering its third week, the program has proven popular with residents, with young and mature alike enjoying the opportunity to take part in an activity in which some haven’t participated in decades, if ever before.

Married couple, Mark Hewitt and Jackie Demers, made the trek from their home in Belle River to take part in both the first and second weekly summer skate, buying new skates to take full advantage of the temporary roller rink.

Hewitt, who looked like he hadn’t missed a beat in the 20 years it had been since he had last skated, said having the roller rink at the Essex Arena was a great night out. He was glad the Town had brought the sport back to Essex.

“We’re encouraging participants to make requests for music as well. If they have a little nostalgia about roller skating back in the day, they can request some of that music they roller skated to back in the 70s, maybe even the 60s,” Jolicoeur said. “We want to be able to offer programs that keep residents active and engaged. When we can get residents involved, and we get their requests and are actually able to offer programs they want, there’s better engagement, and that’s what we’ve found with the response to this program.”

The roller skating will be offered at the Essex Centre Sports Complex every Wednesday from 6 pm to 8pm, until the ice surface returns at a date to be determined in late August.

There is a cost for admission. Visit essex.ca for more details.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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