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General manager reflects on decades at Lexington Ice Center after rink fire

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 18:16:27-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After 32 years working at the Lexington Ice Center, Dennis Hyde’s memories run deep.

“I got to see children of children run through this business,” Hyde said.

As the general manager, he watched as their second rink transformed from bubble to building and all the moments in between. His family was even at the center during a surprise visit from country superstar Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

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Moments like those are why, as Hyde watched the second rink burn Monday night, he also saw decades of memories disappear, too.

“First thing, it’s fear,” Hyde said. “You know, coming in here when I got the call. What’s going on? What’s happening? And then it’s sadness. And then you just feel responsible, like, I gotta take care of these people.”

Those people are his ice center family, skaters and hockey players who’ve called the ice home for years.

“We gotta keep these programs going,” Hyde said. “High school hockey, college hockey, adult hockey, figure skaters. We gotta keep ‘em all going.”

Hyde said the center plans to get creative, using their first rink for all practices this fall. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges as they start to rebuild the second rink. That includes a shortage of lumber sparked by the pandemic.

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“We’re kind of being told by the architects and engineers that it could be a more lengthy process than it was a couple of years ago,” Hyde said. “I’ve got the biggest challenge I’ve had in 30-plus years.”

But amid the devastation, there’s unwavering community support, like blue and green ribbons tied to the front gates this week. According to Hyde, those are the colors of their youth hockey program.

“It was kind of special one morning to come in and see that, and know somebody is thinking about us,” Hyde said.

He’s thinking about them too, as he reflects on decades at the center and figures out what’s next.

Hyde said they’re still waiting on a definitive cause of the fire. Fortunately, no one was injured, and the rink wasn’t even in use at the time of the fire.

This isn’t the first big challenge for the Lexington Ice Center. When the second rink was just a bubble, someone vandalized it, causing it to deflate.

A GoFundMe has been set up here to help the ice center with expenses.

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