Kiani Doyle, 10, typically ice skates at a rink in Ashburn since it is closer to her Sterling home. She is, however, familiar with SkateQuest on Michael Faraday Court in Reston because her mom, Maria Doyle, plays hockey there.
So for the last 18 months, the Doyle family has been watching the transformation of the Reston ice rink and were on hand Oct. 19 for the rink's reopening celebration. The rink remained open during the year-and-half renovation project.
"I wanted to be here because of all the great stuff," Kiani said. "It's the first time I've skated here. It's nice, my mom plays here. It's a big difference. I like the room [mezzanine] to watch."
Maria Doyle also likes the changes made to the facility, although she thinks it could use more seating. She said trying to use the rink while the $2 million renovation project wasn't too difficult and worth the wait.
"I like it. It's a lot nicer," Doyle said. "It doesn't feel as cold. It feels like it's more professional."
LAST SATURDAY, SkateQuest celebrated the completion if its renovation project with a community party complete with free ice skating and rentals, free pizza and soda, a figure-skating exhibition featuring local Olympian Michael Weiss, free skate lesson evaluations, massages, face painting, a moon bounce and give-aways. The response was so great, the festivities, scheduled to conclude at 3 p.m., were extended at least an hour.
"We made it a family-oriented facility. Our pro shop is the largest in the area. We have the largest 'Learn to Skate' program with an international coaching staff," said Jenny Freitas, the rink's marketing director. "We have an adult hockey league. We're the host for the Reston Raiders, a local league. There are six high-school teams that play here."
Nate Smith, the executive director for the Reston and Prince William County SkateQuest locations, said making everyone from beginner skaters to experienced figure and hockey skaters feel welcome.
"We're proud of the physical changes, but more than anything, it's a completely new operation. There is a new staff, a new attack at the business, a much more family-oriented place. It was more club-oriented before."
THE CONSTRUCTION PROJECT resulted in a different look for the 7-year-old rink. SkateQuest took over the facility from SkateNation in March 2001. Originally the facility was built to house indoor tennis courts, said Freitas.
The two sheets of ice — one Olympic size and the other built to National Hockey League (NHL) standards — were redone. A new layout and finish was created. Primos Express was added to provide snacks and drinks. A mezzanine with a big-screen television overlooks the NHL-size rink. And disco lights were installed over the Olympic-size rink.
"We've added a rock-n-skate night on Fridays called Club SK8. We have a 'snow and story hour' for preschoolers were they can run around on the ice in their tennis shoes," said Freitas. "We've always had a holiday program and we want to start a can-food drive."
In all, the facility provides a pro shop, a variety of lessons, youth and adult hockey leagues, open skating for the general public on the weekends and rental opportunities for birthdays or other fund-raising events.
Last Saturday's festivities impressed first-time visitor Stephany Cordova, 9, of Sterling. "I just came here with a friend. I've done the moon bounce, skated, watched the show," she said.