If you’re a figure skating fan, could you picture figure skating history without Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano, Rudy Galindo, and even Sonja Henie? Of course not, that’s absurd! Well, the Berkeley Iceland (in Berkeley, CA) was home to all of these skaters at one time or another – some only on occasion but it has been around for 65 years. It’s now closed – land to be sold to the highest bidder and demolished for whatever purposes they choose.
Berkeley Iceland is one of the largest, most beautiful rinks I’ve ever seen. Tucked in a hidden pocket close to campus, the rink spans Olympic size 200’x100′ and includes grand stands for viewing hockey games and performances. The family who own it ran into financial troubles (rinks are expensive to maintain) after having some cooling equipment issues. So now a nonprofit group has banned together to Save Berkeley Iceland. Let’s hope they can be as successful as saving Kepler’s Bookstore here in Menlo Park has been so far.
Yes, there are rinks in Oakland, San Francisco and Dublin now that aren’t too far away for skaters, but none of them is quite like this one. It truly is a historical building. This Thursday, a group meets in the City of Berkeley to determine whether the building can become an official landmark. Whether that has much bearing on its fate remains to be seen, but if you love figure skating, please consider helping Save Berkeley Iceland turn it into an environmentally sustainable rink that will last another 65+ years.