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Alamedans have chance to skate at the Little Ice Rink

By Joy Lee

The Little Ice Rink located next to Petco at the Alameda South Shore Center opened in November for the fourth year. Perforce Software Foundation, Alameda South Shore Center and Ice America sponsored the ice rink so that Alamedans could skate in their town from Nov. 8  to Jan. 19.

In the beginning, ads were put up on Craigslist and after many interviews and skating tests, several ice skaters found a job at The Little Ice Rink.

DJ Longnecker found the ad on Craigslist and moved up from San Diego to live in Alameda for three months to work as “The Zamboni Guy” at The Little Ice Rink. “The Zamboni Guy? That’s exactly what I am. That’s my job title,” Longnecker said.

Longnecker discovered his job three years ago. “I crashed my car and my dad said ‘you need to fix your car’ so I went on Craigslist and I got the job as a skate guard,” he said.

Longnecker’s job includes coming to the ice rink “every morning at 8 o’clock. We come to set the chiller before it gets too sunny and windy because the wind affects the ice and makes it sweat so we have to keep an eye on everything.”

One student from Alameda High, senior Skyler Rupp has worked at the ice rink for two consecutive years as a skate guard.

“I’ve been skating for 10 years so it was sort of a given that I was going to get the job, but you don’t have to have skating experience to have a job there as a cashier or a skate rental assistant,” Rupp said.

Because of school, Rupp worked few hours during the week and more on the weekends. “I usually work about four  hours a day during the weekends as a skate patrol,” Rupp said.

December brought a lot of rain, but “rain, hail, or shine, we’re always open….it was different last year since there was little rain and more people,” Rupp said.

“The weather affects the ice greatly,” Evan Palmer, one the managers of The Little Ice Rink, said.  “When it is a hot sunny day, we have to keep the temperature down to keep the ice from melting,” he said, adding “and when it’s raining, there’s a chance that the water will turn to ice so we try to get the water off the ice so that the ice doesn’t build up too thick.”

Palmer’s job includes making sure that each worker is on task. “I’m overlooking every part of the the ice rink’s operations. So..from the cashiers and also the skate guards…additionally behind the scene, I’m overseeing the ice tech…the equipment behind that wall that keeps the ice chilled,” Palmer said.

Parents of young children must sign a waiver for their kids, and the little skaters are also offered  a helmet to ensure their safety.

“Lately we’ve been running out of helmets because parents are so overprotective and they get so scared,” Rupp said.

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