A unique agreement between Hanover County and the Washington Capitals professional hockey team will result in improvements being made to a valued roller hockey rink at Courthouse Park.
The Matthew & Daniel Barton Memorial Rink was built 20 years ago in honor of Matthew and Daniel Barton, the sons of Doug and Carol Barton who tragically lost their lives to disease at a young age. Both Matthew and Danny were hockey enthusiasts who loved to play. Doug and Carol Barton coordinated the community fundraising and donated the rink to the County.
Hanover County Parks and Recreation Director Derek Stamey noted that the Barton rink has served our community for the past 19 plus years as a place for both youth and adults to enjoy the game of inline hockey. He said it has also been utilized for many purposes such as middle school hockey, tournaments and pick up hockey.
The rink is in need of replacement, leading the Bartons to coordinate a new fundraising effort. They collected $19,200, and Doswell Energy Center donated an additional $25,000.
Also contributing to the effort is the Washington Capitals National Hockey League team, which has a Youth Hockey Development program. Through this program, the Capitals are helping refurbish a number of street hockey rinks in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington D.C. Rinks in Virginia include Leesburg, Purcellville, Ashburn, Alexandria and Fredericksburg.
The Capitals agreed to furnish, replace and install the street hockey/inline skating rink as a donation to the County. On May 12, the Board of Supervisors approved a Memorandum of Understanding stating the responsibilities for each of the organizations to repair and replace the rink.
As part of their $100,000 investment, the Capitals will replace and provide all rink boards, fencing and new plastic skating tiles. If funding allows, a scoreboard will be included. Street hockey equipment and training will be provided to all Hanover County Public Elementary and Middle Schools as well as Hanover Parks & Recreation.
Hanover County will be responsible for removing and/or repairing existing boards, fencing, brackets and surface, installing footings for the new board system. The Board committed to keeping their facility where it is (at the entrance to Courthouse Park) and operating for at least 20 more years, and will allow the Capitals logo to be displayed on the site.
Hanover’s costs will be paid by the money raised by the Barton family and donated by Doswell Energy Center.
The total amount invested in the rehabilitation of the Barton Memorial Rink will be $144,200.
Cold Harbor District Supervisor Michael Herzberg called it a “win-win-win” for all involved, including the taxpayers.
“This is a great example of teamwork with community partners,” said Herzberg, a member of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee.
Chickahominy District Supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek said her son played roller hockey and she had spent many a chilly night out at the Barton Rink. She commended the Bartons for turning their tragic loss into a gift for others.
“It makes my heart very full,” she commented.
“We are just so thrilled,” said Carol Barton. “We are thankful for all of the support, from the community and from the Board and Doswell Energy and the Capitals. So many people said, ‘tell us what we can do to help’. We are very lucky to have had such support from everyone.”
Fundraising during COVID-19 times was challenging, so the Bartons set up a Go fund me page.
Peter Robinson, Director of Youth Development for the Washington Capitals, said the Barton project was “more personal” than other facilities the Capitals have helped repair and refurbish.
“We haven’t done any other projects like this,” Robinson said. “Most of our other projects have been municipal driven to refurbish facilities that needed an update. This is a resident-led initiative that is getting accomplished because the community came together to save a facility they love. We’re coming in to help save something that was going to disappear. It’s been a pleasure to work with the Barton family and Hanover County on this and we’ve found it very rewarding.”
Robinson said the Capitals’ participation came about as a result of someone contacting him about the Go Fund Me page. He talked with the family and then with Dan Smith, Deputy Director of Hanover Parks and Recreation, who helped the Capitals get through the County’s processes.
Robinson said the work could begin as early as July. He hoped it would be completed by the end of August.