I guess I have become the lightning rod on the issue of renaming the Ridgeland Common ice rink.

So many Oak Park residents have approached me and expressed support for the idea of not rushing in for a name change. I am very proud of my fellow Oak Parkers–those parents, coaches, hockey players, who have decided to speak up.

Little did I anticipate such concern. I am amazed as to the reasons given.

I’ve heard from frustrated parents whose children have participated in the current recreational hockey program. They have discovered that in spite of the vast talent possessed by some of our children, there is a serious problem with the current instruction when it comes to hockey.

Basically, if your child excels in hockey at a young age, there is no room for him or her at Ridgeland Common.

How unfortunate. One would think that it would be the opposite. Good skills should be rewarded with more support for our little ones.

This is a serious matter.

There is a yearning for a hockey program that will truly live up to what the sport is about. What is wrong with getting the best coaches? It seems that other rinks do it. One concerned resident asked me if I could tell her if the current hockey program run by Mr. Hruby had ever resulted in any child developing into a major hockey player?

I didn’t know, so I asked an OPRF Huskies’ coach.

“None” was the answer.

I posed the same question in regard to him. It floored me when he named at least five players who he had personally coached and have gone on to play in the NHL.

I’ve also heard that a name change is not too important one way or another. Just as long as credit is awarded to those who truly deserve it.

These are just some of the responses.

Therefore, I still honestly believe that we should wait, and take some time before re-naming Ridgeland Common Ice Rink.

As of now I don’t know if the village has a policy or criteria to follow in regard to naming or dedicating any part of Oak Park. If there isn’t, then I recommend that our newly elected board members listen to all sides of the issue. Draft a proposal, refine it, and put it to a vote. A referendum.

I just want to conclude by thanking those who have expressed an opinion, one way or another.

Joe Diaz
Oak Park resident since 1976

Join the discussion on social media!