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Tasmania’s only ice rink risks closure

A young Tasmanian athlete’s dreams may be squashed as the state’s only ice rink faces closure.

Grace, 12, is a figure skater who trains at Glenorchy Ice Rink and competes in state championships, but that could all soon come to an end.

Without a facility, “her dreams are squashed”, says mother Anna Holliday, the president of Ice Sports Tasmania.

“It’s the same for other athletes. They will have to move interstate to continue their dreams.”

The privately owned rink has been on the market for more than 12 months, but concern is growing it will be repurposed by a commercial investor.

A real estate listing for the business describes it as a “northern suburbs institution with the ice-skating rink the only one of its kind in Tasmania”.

Ice Sports Tasmania has launched a campaign for the state to be supported with a permanent ice rink into the future.

The newly formed peak body includes a committee of athletes, coaches, business owners and community sports experts, including Ice Skating Australia’s Kim Wilson.

Despite Tasmania’s rink being smaller than an Olympic facility, it currently services 200 training and competing athletes a week.

“The two predominant sports in Tassie are ice sports and figure skating,” Ms Holliday said.

“We’re asking the state to support us proactively and the current rink with all its disadvantages.”

She said the current rink was workable but presented limitations to athletes because it was not full sized, and put Tasmanian athletes at a “physical and cognitive disadvantage”.

“Our figure skaters and ice hockey skaters cannot prepare to compete with Olympic athletes.

“We’re the only state in Australia that does not have a full-sized rink.

“There is an imminent risk to the future of the sport … if we don’t get another rink.”

She said the community of figure skaters and ice hockey players, as well as people who used the rink recreationally, was at risk.

“It’s an incredibly close community that could be dissolved.”

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