In Search of Hockey Players around Frostburg, Md.

As I’m settling in to Frostburg, I’m about to resume playing hockey again just as adult leagues are winding down or already over.

The easy solution for me is to just play in Hagerstown where I grew up playing, know most of the guys there and is close by my parents’ house and sisters’ apartments for a quick stop-in. You’ll quickly find out that I’ve put in way too much thought into all this, but save for actually building a rink here, you do all you can to play hockey before your body says no mas.

I also recognize that the Frostburg area is a bit of a hockey desert. It’s the perfect climate for hockey—especially in what seems like an extended winter—and if students at FSU or others nearby want to continue playing they have to hunt for likeminded people.

I created a Facebook page called Frostburg Hockey where hockey players around the area can talk to each other, organize rides to pick-up games and league games and maybe meet up for a beer or watch the pros play. The page isn’t to be confused with the defunct Frostburg State Bobcats club hockey team. The Cumberland ice rink’s closure in 2005 pretty much killed that. A few players came down to Hagerstown the following three years then ceased to exist.

A good percentage of students at FSU will probably make up this group and they tend to be from the Baltimore-Washington market, creating a better chance for players coming up this way at least part of the year. If you are one of those people, first of all, hello.

Second, you might not know the ice rink situation up here if you played in the Capital Beltway Hockey League or travel leagues that took you through New Jersey and New York.

The Hagerstown rink is actually one of the furthest away from Frostburg, and somehow Morgantown only has a seasonal indoor rink. Here’s the map I created that shows your options:


If you can’t view the map, thee are your closest ice rinks:

PERMANENT RINKS:
  • Planet Ice, Johnstown,PA—58.7 miles; 1hr 14in
  • The Ice Mine (formerly Divito Park Ice Mine), Connellsville (Leisenring), PA—63.9 miles; 1hr 16min
  • Cambria County War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, PA—62.5 miles; 1hr17min [Mainly used for junior games]
  • Galactic Ice Arena, Altoona,PA—75.7 miles; 1hr23min
  • North Central Recreation Center, Ebensburg,PA—73.1 miles; 1hr26min
  • Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex, Hagerstown, MD—78.7 miles; 1hr29min
SEASONAL:
  • Morgantown/BOPARC Ice Arena, Morgantown, WV—66.5 miles; 1hr 9 min [Typically open from October to March 31]
NATURAL:
  • Cranberry Swamp, Cranberry Swamp Road, Finzel, MD—5.2 miles; 10min
  • C&O Canal, Cushwa Basin, Williamsport, MD [If you know of any spots on the canal around Cumberland let me know.]

Here’s the wild card about all this: driving in the winter. The Altoona rink is off of I-99 but as that road turns into US 220 heading south, that four-lane highway turns into a two-lane winding, country road until you reach I-68 in Flintstone.

Same goes for the trip to Johnstown until you reach US 219’s junction with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Either road out of Frostburg is a two-lane road until it eventually turns into a four-lane highway about halfway into your trip in what feels like BFE.

That’s why both The Ice Mine and Hagerstown ice rinks seem like better bets. US 40 to US 119 in Pennsylvania are both four-lane roads for the majority of the trip, giving two priority routes for snow removal. Heading to Hagerstown, I-68, I-70 and US-40 are all typically cleared off pretty good and hey, Rocky Gap Casino is on the ride home.

As for Morgantown, it’s a solid option getting there and back, but that seasonal schedule might throw off some things. And right now, I don’t know when any of these rinks play other than Sunday night for Hagerstown.

So let the suggestions flow and stop by the Frostburg Hockey page to learn more.

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