By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
After many attempts to break ground over the past year and a half, Global Property Developers Inc. Project Manager Michael Gorman and his team can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Gorman and investors are planning a groundbreaking event for September 26th and to usher in the construction of one of the nations top developmental training facilities. My hometown of Amesbury, Massachusetts is finally getting a rink of its own after a 40+ year absence having players in the area seeking ice at the nearby Graf Rink in Newburyport, Massachusetts and most recently the Valley Forum 11 miles away in Haverhill, Mass.
This new state of the art $70M facility that is coming to Amesbury will house six rinks in its 410,000-square-foot building located alongside Interstate 495 on South Hunt Road. I believe having an in-house facility of this nature in the area it’ll create more local interest and proper avenues for continued development when it comes to the game and potential “pro ambitions” from younger players. Amesbury hasn’t had a rink in the city since the early 1980s and a few new sheets, in my opinion, could put this area back on the map when it comes to the evaluation and training of tomorrows stars and with that recipe is the Field of Dreams notion that could very well happen.
Developing properly and strong lines of training continue to happen today with the fantastic members of the Amesbury Youth Hockey program, but it was at a whole new level starting in the early 1920s to the present day. The Amesbury Maples was once known as one of the best semi-pro / amateur teams in the country. Even though they had a great all-time record and traveled throughout the Northeast as an organization often, their biggest claim to fame believe it or not was continued development. The Amesbury Maples prided themselves on taking what you learned and be there for the next generation when those in the community needed guidance and structure.
From former Maples players such as Albie Roy, Alphonse Picard, Fred Fournier, Leo Dupre, and George Dodier, this is a small mention of a casting crew that spent a tremendous amount of time giving back to the younger generation. For decades so many, I wish I could mention helped produce some very good hockey players with some dabbling in the minor-pro levels to some having a chance to represent their country during the Winter Olympic times.
Speaking of former Amesbury Maples greats, Paul “Desi” Desautels and Albie Roy along with other great former Amesbury High School athletes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame so there are two exceptional events happening later this month on the same day. Mr. Roy wasn’t only a fantastic all-around athlete, but the leading cog during his Maple hockey career dedicating even more time to the community as a creator of the high school program. This Hall of Fame event on 9/26/19 will be held at the Amesbury High Auditorium and is free to the public.
Mr. Gorman has been a class act throughout this process and has always brought the idea of history and honoring those who played in this city since the beginnings of the project in 2016. Remembering the Maples has always been important for him and crew, but in yesterday’s Newburyport Daily News article he paid the ultimate respect to those former players by renaming the facility from the former Atlantic Sports Center to the new Maples Crossing name as seen in the image below.
In the above mentioned Daily News article by James Sullivan on September 3rd, 2019, Gorman mentioned how important remembering the area’s history by saying….
“We are anxious to celebrate this next part of our project, which is monumental to us,” Gorman said. “We have worked very hard to get to this point and it is a big deal for us to see this on the horizon. It is also a big deal to us to know that we are on the cusp of physically getting this project built.”
“This is our home now,” Gorman said. “We wanted a name that we could proudly display that wasn’t just about us but about the community. The name we had was good enough to get us to today but we felt we needed something more dynamic in terms of its meaning and its visual. We feel we have accomplished that in a way that hopefully the people of Amesbury will embrace and be proud of.”
Amesbury Youth Hockey board member and co-chair of fundraising Heather Ingerson said last night when I reached out to her after the recent news. “ This facility will lead to so many avenues for our youth league to grow and be a part of continuing the rich hockey history of our community.” Ingerson also added, “ From the first steps of learning to skate through high school, I know the kids and parents are excited to have ice time and expanded training opportunities right here at home.”
Now I know some reading this are saying that six rinks are overkill and pointless, but you really have to be in the know and understand the vision that this group has on and off the ice. With developmental hockey at the top of the mission, these folks have the potential to house music events, indoor lacrosse, and other non-related recreational functions. The biggest attraction from my dealings with Mr. Gorman besides the history factor has been the need for another multi-rink facility to take advantage of tournaments that will be a huge spectators draw. With I-95 and I-495 so close, travelers will also see what Amesbury has to offer with it’s growing downtown area and excellent bars and restaurants.
This facility could also be great for adults either getting in the game or a veteran beer leaguer. I’m sure a mega-plex like this will have openings for adult lessons and leagues but also a place to go and have a great meal and some competitive hockey. Rumor has it the project managers have applied for four liquor licenses, so no matter where folks go either up on the hill or to the downtown area and attraction to come here and spend money works for both sides. I’ve heard some concern from Amesbury’s downtown business owners about being concerned with what direction the foot traffic is going and to that rumored back and forth, all I can say is just work together and think about the common goal here. We’re still one community that benefits from each other.
This is an exciting moment and can’t wait to report on all the news that I get and provide updates of the site’s construction, so stay tuned. Anyways, thanks for reading and be on the lookout for more Maples related articles in the near future.