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      Royce Park ice rink is ready for action

      It has been 15 years since Escanaba??s Royce Park ice rink opened before Christmas. Thursday, the city kicked off the skating season with more than 25 people in attendance.

      The city was happy the weather cooperated early this year, sustaining cold temperatures for an extended period of time.

      "A lot of people come home from school--college kids, high school kids, grade school kids,?? said Tom Penegor, Recreation Director for Escanaba. ??Now they're going to have a place to utilize some of that energy that builds up during the Christmas holidays and come out here and use the facility."

      This free, family-friendly rink offers a heated shelter house, hockey sticks, pucks and pushers for the little ones learning to skate. There is also hot chocolate and pop for sale.

      Kids of all ages have showed up to ice skate for opening day.

      "I'm playing hockey with my friends Noah and Hunter and my little brother,?? said Escanaba Junior High School seventh grader, Adam Jenshak.

      The ice rink has two areas: half designated for hockey and the other half for open skating.

      Nine-year-old Noah Khollman enjoys it all, "I like to play hockey, I like to ice skate, hit the puck, hit scores..."

      The cold weather does not seem to stop the kids from skating.

      ??It's outside; we get to enjoy the cold instead of sitting in a house where it??s nice and warm,?? Jenshak said.

      The rink is open school nights, 5-8 p.m., Saturday 1-8 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m.