JENKINS TWP. — On Old Boston Road sits an ice rink that plays host to several hockey teams in Luzerne County, but not many people know about it.
Revolution Ice Centre is a lesser-known ice rink, often overlooked, thanks to Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township and the Toyota Sportsplex on Coal Street in Wilkes-Barre.
“When Coal Street opened, I feel like people just went down Coal Street because Penguins, Penguins, Penguins,” said Tyler Loftus, Directer of Rink Operations at Revolution Ice Centre. “I guess, really, it’s more of ‘Hey, we’re still here. We’re still the original ice rink in the area, so come back.’”
Revolution Ice Centre offers various programs for children, teens and adults, such as skating lessons, camps, public skating, and birthday parties.
It also has an indoor turn field for local teams to hold soccer, field hockey and lacrosse practices.
Revolution’s biggest selling point is its junior hockey program, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights, members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Now in their third season, the Knights typically play in front of a crowd of 100 people per game, according to Loftus.
The problem, however, is the rink holds a maximum capacity of 2,500 people.
“We had one game where we had about 200 (people),” Loftus said.
Because the Knights’ season coincides with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Loftus admitted it’s hard to try and increase attendance, but he’s doing anything and everything he can.
“We do social media, our youth organization, and we try to get people in through word of mouth,” he said. “We also do community events with the team.”
Tom Koval, head coach for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights, said attendance usually picks up when football season ends.
“It seems like after college football season is over, then you look at about 500 people,” he said. “So, with high school football and college football, it dips into our clientele a little bit.”
The ice rink hosts the annual Wyoming Area vs. Pittston Area Blue/Gold Hockey games as well as King’s College men’s and women’s hockey games.
Although attendance for hockey games is up and down, Loftus said it’s the public skating he wants to increase.
“I think it’s because it’s so nice outside (in the summer) and then with high school and college football, nobody wants to come out,” he said.”But, as the year picks up, I think we get a little bit better.”
Loftus said public skating is offered on Saturdays and Sundays, but Fridays will be added when the winter months roll around. He plans to continue using social media and hopes word-of-mouth advertising will bring in more patrons.
During public skate, concession stands are open and there equipment is available for rent.
“For little kids, we do have equipment rentals for our ‘Learn to Play,’” Loftus said. “Our shop has everything you could need. They size you, they fit, and they give you everything.”
With much to offer at the center, Loftus is hopeful Revolution Ice Centre will see a significant increase in attendance, whether it’s for a hockey game or for public skating.
“What we’re really trying to do is get people in the door to see what’s going and hopefully we can get them to start playing hockey,” he said. “We really count on our youth program a lot to have kids come in and bring their friends in.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher