The Callery’s daughter Aurora skates at the Scottsville Ice Arena. Photo by Kent Friel

Chris and Adria Callery are the couple the behind the Scottsville Ice Arena initiative and regarding that Chris told us, “It involves bringing together so many things that may take the rest of my life to accomplish, but I like a challenge.” It’s great that he has such a healthy attitude about things because there have been some challenges along the way and more looming on the horizon.

Later in this article we will take you back over three decades to 1993 and recap the history of this local facility and it is indeed an interesting history which conveys all the hard work needed to put the Scottsville Ice Arena in the positive position it now finds itself. But before we embark upon that journey, we will have the Callerys share some of the success stories that comprise the fruits of their labors.

Here are just a few of the highlights since we took over 🙂
* Adult leagues have expanded from 1 night a week to 3 (and we even had one of the leagues spill over into a 4th night).
* We purchased ice bocce (which is a cross between curling and traditional bocce ball) and held 1 session of a league and look forward to doing more with it.
* We have invested in our staff members by paying for them to get specialized training at the NARCE conference (North American Rink Conference & Expo) sponsored by the U.S. Ice Rink Association for the past 2 years and will be attending the conference in Milwaukee again this May.
* We have had the opportunity to host multiple school field trips and outings.
* We were a sponsor for the Halloween on Ambush event that donated proceeds from their event to the Dream Factory, we also sponsored t-shirts for the varsity sports teams in Wheatland and the Scottsville Athletic Association to give back to our community.  We also supported the Nicolosi Foundation by putting a logo in the ice to bring awareness to the charity created in honor of a local boy who was tragically killed in a car accident.
* In partnership with Mary Therese Friel and Eagle Wings Pageantry we held a “Feel the Love” skating event in which the proceeds were donated to Mary Therese’s Comfort Campaign and Eagle Wings Pageantry (a 501c3 organization that holds a yearly pageant and scholarship in honor of the organizers son Eagle who passed away).
* We hosted a spring tournament in 2023 that brought many out-of-town teams to the Rochester area.
* We have learn-to-skate/figure skating lessons starting next month and will also be running the longest running spring league program in the area again this spring.
* For the first time in the rinks history we have been open during the summers.
* Over the past weekend we had the ability to donate snow for “Hearts for Isabella” a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization created in memory of Isabella Annelise Dombrowski that helps raise awareness to Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) with combined hopes and support to the children and those living CHD. They created a beautiful snow sculpture for children at Golisano children’s hospital.

Here’s the account from Chris Callery as to what happened regarding the history of the Scottsville Ice Arena in the community. Back in the early 1990’s, a well-meaning local family with an interest in the figure skating world set out to build a community ice rink that would serve, not only as a training facility for their child, but as a community facility for the residents of Wheatland/Scottsville and the surrounding area.

The construction was completed in 1993 and the doors were opened but things did not go as planned. A new owner proceeded to operate the business until 2000 when he decided, during the summer, that he would not be opening for the upcoming season.

At this time a group of parents who were involved with a local youth hockey program stepped in and bought the facility. Then, in 2021, after many years of attempting to make a background sale, they put the property on the market. This initiated the displacement process for many youth hockey teams and organizations as they vowed not to open for the upcoming season, a status which basically replicated the circumstances under which they started.

Having spent the previous couple of years as hockey parents to two participating daughters, as well as coaching, Chris and his wife Adria asked themselves the question, “What does our community look like without this facility?”
“Being fairly new to the Wheatland/Scottsville area,” Chris said, “having moved here some five years prior, some of the attractions were the small town, the availability of recreation, a great school district to educate our girls, as well as the opportunity to be involved.”

After a few conversations it became clear to the Callerys that if the ice rink was going to remain, it needed to be operated by someone in the community. The basis for their thinking was that the Scottsville Ice Arena was an underutilized facility that was poorly marketed, did not contribute to the community in ways a business should, was an important vehicle in drawing people into the community and served as a great place to provide young adults with first job opportunities, as well as employment opportunities for seniors and retirees.

Chris’s background as an Industrial Refrigeration and Mechanical systems technician took away the general fears that many people would have going into a business like this, and in the first year of ownership those skills have saved a lot of money and headaches as the 30 years of band-aids being applied to the building seemed to start falling off quickly.

As we do with all the articles we write like this, we asked if they had any funny stories to share. Chris’s response was that, “I can honestly say, and Adria would probably agree, that in this first year the stories we would have are more disbelief than funny. We have been put in some pretty difficult situations with obstacles left by the previous ownership popping up at nearly every turn.

Spinning things positive at this point, Chris shared some of his earliest childhood sports memories. “I could tell you the first sponsor of our little league baseball team in Hamlin, NY back in 1980,” Chris said, “and getting my first catchers’ mitt at Hamlin Sports. I can also tell you the lessons I learned that have helped me become a better teammate and a well-rounded person as an adult. These are the memories that stand out for me, not the actual instruction on the baseball field. At Scottsville Ice Arena we aim to create transformational experiences such as these rather than transactional experiences that will not enhance the lives of those who utilize the facility.”

“Our vision for the facility is to create opportunities for everyone in the community not just those that can or are willing to try ice skating. I want to transform the facility into the premier youth and recreational player experience, use the facility to bring everyone in the community together, whether that be through field trips to help teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum, to media and broadcasting opportunities for students and adults, fundraising, hosting world-class hockey tournaments that draw teams and players from around the world to our area to take over all of the rinks and a convention space annually.”

The Scottsville Ice Arena is located at 2000 Scottsville-Chili Road. Their phone number is (585) 889-1817 and you can visit their website at Open public skating sessions are held on Saturdays from 7 to 9pm and Sundays from 3 to 5pm. An adult skate and shoot session is held Saturdays from 9 to 10:30pm and a youth skate and shoot session is held most Sundays from 5 to 6:30pm.

©2024 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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