Little Known Facts
Little Known Facts about Berkeley Iceland
Every town has at least one special place that helps define the community and brings people together. Itâ€™s a place where memories are made, where the beauty of the past is integrated with our experiences today, where young people meet and families grow and parents watch their kids play and learn and dream of the future. In Berkeley, that special place is a treasured community ice rink that fills a city block - Berkeley Iceland.
Did you know â€¦
- In 1938 Berkeley Iceland was funded privately by local community leaders, not by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as were almost all other public facilities of its day. St. Moritz Ice Skating Club members even sold shares door-to-door.
- Icelandâ€™s chiller used to make the ice was originally used to cure concrete at Hoover Dam, and was transported to Berkeley Iceland by W. A. Bechtel â€“ the builder of both projects in 1939.
- The legendary, nine-time figure skating champion Maribel Vinson-Owen began her coaching career at Berkeley Iceland in 1944.
- Dick Button received his second gold medal at Berkeley Iceland in 1947, Carol Heiss in 1957, and Peggy Fleming in 1966.
- Frank Zamboni became manager of Iceland in 1956, and eventually the owner, leading to a skating renaissance and a relationship between the Zamboniâ€™s and Berkeley Iceland lasting over 50 years.
- The 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team trained at Iceland.
- UC Berkeley Ice Hockey team was a driving force behind the founding of Berkeley Iceland, and until its closing the rink was the home ice for the Cal Ice Hockey Club, which drew thousands of fans each season.
- Berkeley Iceland was also the practice ice for the California Golden Seals, the Bay Area's first National Hockey Team, and home of the Berkeley Bulldogs of the Northern California Junior Hockey Association.
Most importantly, the rink has always been a gathering place for the Berkeley community. Generations of athletes, families, students, and neighborhood kids came together at Berkeley Iceland to exercise, have fun, play, train, or just be with friends and family in a safe and healthy atmosphere.