Nassau County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new youth hockey arena in Eisenhower Park on Thursday.
Nassau County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new youth hockey arena in Eisenhower Park on Thursday.

Nassau County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a new privately funded $15 million state-of-the-art “Twin Rinks Ice Center” sports and recreation center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

The new 85,000-square-foot facility will house two NHL regulation-sized rinks and one outdoor recreational hockey rink. The arena is set to host two Long Island youth hockey organizations: the Long Island Gills Amateur Hockey Association and the New York Junior Bobcats.

“This new state of the art sports and recreation center is an exciting component of the Hub that will create jobs, complement Nassau’s sports-entertainment tourism plan and provide youth athletes access to world class skating facilities,” said County Executive Ed Mangano.

The facility is expected to generate an estimated $35 million into the local economy over the first five years and is expected to create nearly 20 new jobs.

Its construction is funded by Twin Rinks at Eisenhower Park, a collaboration between twin former NHL players turned youth hockey coaches Chris and Peter Ferraro of Ferraro Brothers Hockey, Joel Friedman of Clearview Capital Management, LLC and Ronald Friedman of SilvermanAcampora, LLP.

“This is a great day for Nassau County and a great day for the sport of hockey,” said Richard “Big Daddy” Salgado, president of Coastal Advisors LLC who served as a consultant on the project. “I grew up here and know there has never been anything like Twin Rinks. More jobs, a world class facility and hockey programs will provide quality coaching for kids and adults and start turning more Long Island youth into NHL stars.”

He noted that it is important to keep LI-based talent on the Island. The Ferraros had to go all over the place to get exposure and play hockey, he added.

“It is our passion to support Long Island families so that they will no longer have to be torn apart or have their family life disrupted just because a child excels in hockey and wants to try to make it to the NHL,” said Chris Ferraro. “This facility will enable us to create a hockey hot bed right here on Long Island.”

Peter Ferraro said he and his brother want to help the community grow and expand the sport’s recreation area at what he calls the Mecca of Long Island.

“Having real NHL guys as a part of this is going to be huge for the community,” said Christina Collins, mother of a young right wing Dix Hills Rebels player. Her son plans to try out for the team once the rink is complete.

“There is a limited number of rinks out here,” said Collins. “I think to grow the sport we need more ice time and more affordable ice time and a place for kids to play around an build the sport.”

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.