BATAVIA — It was just a brief stop Tuesday at David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena and it’s not the first time the Empire State Winter Games torch was well-received, foundation and arena staff say.
The kids were able to take a break from what they were doing Tuesday evening to skate a few laps around the rink with the torch, which Mites program coach Mark Kuntz carried.
Brian McCarthy, president of the David M. McCarthy Memorial Foundation, said the kids were excited to have the torch there. The arena has hosted the torch in years past, he noted.
“You feel like you’re a part of something big and they (kids) definitely buy in and get very excited about it,” he said. “What the adults get excited about is how excited the kids are. The Empire State Games is a cool thing. Really good athletics — it’s always been good hockey, so the fact that it’s still alive and well, and passes through Batavia and makes everybody aware is really cool. It’s great. It’s fun.”
Kati Murray, arena general manager, said the kids enjoyed being in the spotlight with the torch.
“We welcome it. We hope to do it again next year. It’s nice for the kids, It’s nice for GAHA (Genesee Amateur Hockey Association). It’s nice for the rink too,” Murray said. “It’s great to see people there supporting the Empire State Games.”
Murray said the kids and parents were both happy with the event and that GAHA did a great job promoting it.
“It used to come on a regular basis and then there was a gap and then it started up again last year.” – feels there was more communication this year between the rink and the Empire Sports
“No one knew what to expect last year. They had more advanced notice than they had last year …. on what was expected with the rink and GAHA getting children there.”
“I was there last year and when it came previous years when my kids played hockey, yes I was there, but I wasn’t involved.”
Sharon Gray of Friends of the Rink group said there was better communication this year between the Empire State Winter Games and the arena than there was last year when the torch was there.
“No one knew what to expect last year. They had more advanced notice (from ESWG) than they had last year …. on what was expected with the rink and GAHA getting children there.”
“It used to come on a regular basis and then there was a gap and then it started up again last year,” Gray said. “I was there last year and when it came previous years, when my kids played hockey.”
Tim Hyland of the torch relay team said Tuesday night, “It’s been great — good turnouts, good (number of) kids coming out, parents.”
The ESWG Torch Relay began earlier this week from two sites — the Buffalo area and New York City. In Western New York, the trip started Sunday at Holiday Valley and stopped in Gowanda, Lockport, Williamsville and Orchard Park. On Tuesday it was in Waterloo and Batavia. It was scheduled to go to Cortland Wednesday before coming to Watertown today and then to Lake Placid.
The torch relay will conclude with the lighting of the cauldron as the Empire State Winter Games officially start tonight in Lake Placid. Competition begins Friday. The ESWG, the largest multi-sport amateur athletic winter sporting event in North America, is expected to draw around 2,000 athletes competing in more than 30 events in Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Paul Smiths and the surrounding area.
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