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Supporters of township inline rink should be commended

Tribune Staff • May 18, 2017 at 1:00 PM

For years, the number of kids participating in the Northwest Ottawa Recreation Authority’s inline hockey league has dropped like a Blackhawk player getting checked by Niklas Kronwall.

But does that mean nobody uses the skating rink anymore?

No.

On nice days, the rink is often full of shirtless teenage boys carving back and forth across the cracked surface. Even during the winter months, when the park is still closed to vehicles, players take advantage when there’s no snow by parking on side streets and making their way to the rink for pickup games of inline hockey.

Now, Grand Haven Township wants to replace the rink with pickleball courts.

When the plans to raze the rink were made public, those who love playing hockey there sprang into action.

They organized a petition and collected more than 1,000 signatures.

They took to social media to gather support for their cause.

They gathered at the park with messages scrawled on neon-colored paper, urging others to unite behind their cause.

They organized a get-together this coming Saturday, where those who learned to skate on the rink, shed plenty of sweat — and most likely a bit of blood, as well — could show their support.

This is a refreshing approach from a predominantly younger crowd. Their generation has a reputation — fair or not — of hiding behind their keyboards. This group is doing nothing of the sort. They’re out on the front line, taking a stand for something they believe in. That should be commended.

What should be done with the inline rink? That’s a tough question. Pickleball has exploded in popularity, especially among senior citizens, who tend to favor the low-impact sport as a way to stay active.

But it’s clear that the inline hockey crowd is alive and vocal.

Will their efforts be enough to save the rink? That remains to be seen.

But the inline hockey players should be commended for the way they’ve handled this contentious issue. 

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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