BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. -- The Bainbridge Roller Hockey League thought its season was over when a weekend arson damaged a popular roller hockey rink at Battle Point Park.
48 hours would prove otherwise, league leaders told KOMO News on Tuesday.
Just about every day during the summer, kids come to the rink to practice and play.
August Janow’s passion for the game began eleven years ago.
"The most intense sport. The most fun," Janow said. "It’s just so much fun for me to play. I like the speed. I like the community."
Bea Skipton has been playing for five years.
"The time flies because you’re having fun," she said.
"It’s kinda like a home away from home, you know?" added Connor Durrance.
None of them knew when a makeshift practice Tuesday would be possible after word spread on Sunday morning that a fire had heavily damaged one side of the rink. Fire investigators believe the fire was intentionally set. The exact source of the fire hasn't been determined.
"It was shocking to see what was done to here," said Janow, who serves as a player, coach, and referee for the league.
"It was bad," Skipton added.
Hundreds of tiles had melted into the asphalt below.
Even one of the nets wasn’t usable.
"I knew this was going to be a really long fix," said Nicole Wingfield, Vice President of the Bainbridge Roller Hockey League. "Or I thought it was going to be a really long fix."
Fortunately, the league had ordered 1,000 extra tiles when the rink's current surface was installed several years ago, Wingfield said.
The Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District moved in and repaired the rink before a group of volunteers arrived to do it themselves, she added.
"It was like zip. It’s done!" exclaimed Skipton.
A message about how important the rink is to the community.
"When things like this happen, it doesn’t matter. We’re gonna fix, we’re gonna turn around, and we’re gonna make sure hockey’s played," said parent volunteer Linda Cox. "We love hockey. We love being here. We love being part of this community. We’re very much about positive energy and love. And that’s gonna what we show in our actions. Not just in our words when we have challenges to overcome in our community."
On Tuesday, new goal lines were spray painted in front of the net ahead of games that were scheduled for tomorrow at the rink.
"Temporary, but their whole goal was to get our kids skating," Wingfield said.
The exact source of the fire isn't yet known, a fire department spokesman told KOMO News on Tuesday afternoon.
That doesn’t matter now, league leaders said.
What matters is the kids are back at their second home.
"It feels awesome ‘cause we get to play," Skipton said.
"I’m happy we can play again," Janow added.
The games that were cancelled Sunday because of the fire will be played on Sunday, July 15, instead.
The parks department does have insurance, a spokesman told KOMO News. The department plans to file a claim with its insurance company for the repairs that have already been made.