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New outdoor rink 'a dream come true' in Westerville

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New outdoor rink 'a dream come true' in Westerville [Ohio]

by Brian Hedger - BlueJackets.com


Stricken by son's premature death, parents ensure his legacy with new street-hockey rink to open Saturday.

It's called the Overseas Highway and its pavement stretches across the Florida Keys about 100 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, from Key Largo to Key West.

The drive takes you past places like Islamorada, Long Key, Marathon and the Saddlebunch Keys - and at the end of the line, in Key West, sits the inspiration for an outdoor street-hockey rink that will soon anchor Alum Creek Park South in Westerville.

It's called Southernmost Hockey Rink, located a few slap shots from Key West High School, along Atlantic Blvd., and it's where Thomas Knox loved to play hockey on Spring Break vacations with his parents, Jim and Lisa.

"We would go to Key West during Spring Break and he would spend a lot of hours over at the roller-hockey rink, especially when he would bring a buddy," said Jim Knox, whose idea to bring a similar rink to Westerville was rooted in honoring Thomas, who died more than two years ago, at age 14, after playing a hockey game. "I was heading home from Uptown Westerville and I was like, 'What can we do? What can we do different?' I got home and the thought of Key West came to my mind."

Key West.

That's where Thomas Knox would strap on his rollerblades and just zip around the concrete at 'Southernmost' for hours, honing his hockey skills and catching a breeze off the Atlantic Ocean nearby. It was a place where Thomas was happy, where he enjoyed a warm afternoon playing a sport he'd fallen in love with as a 6-year old, playing mini-sticks with his older brother and learning how to skate at the Chiller North.

Jim, a retired vice president of global operations for Worthington Industries, knew the price for such a project would run well into the six digits, possibly up to $250,000, and a number like that might make his wife balk at the idea.

He didn't let that stop him. He floated it to her anyway, to see what she thought, and Lisa quickly added her own spin - suggesting Alum Creek Park South, which also has a BMX course that Thomas enjoyed.

"I thought of the perfect park to put it in, because Thomas spent time there and there's a lot of land there," she said. "I said, 'I know exactly where we could ask the city to put it.'"

Read more at: https://www.nhl.com/bluejackets/news/columbus-blue-jackets-westerville-rink-0627/c-299294626


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