The rally cry went up last week. The Martha’s Vineyard Arena needed help. It’s not the first time — there have been casino nights, auction nights and many other fundraisers for the overdue and much-needed improvements for the rink. Maintaining the rink is an ongoing full-time community job, driven by volunteers.

Our community has seen cutbacks, layoffs and appeals, and many who spend a large amount of their time at the rink are (in true Vineyard pioneering spirit) all too willing to help. This past Saturday it was a hands-on affair as over 35 men with tool belts and boxes, ladders and staging came to build, fix, improve or patch and spend the day working on the ailing rink. They enjoyed working together, talking hockey and laughing, mostly at each other.

And this was not an all-male affair; Angie Grant, Sue, Jamie Forend and Meredith Goldwaith were all there leading the way, tearing down siding and painting.

Heard at the Ritz that night: “It was a great day. It was a day of community service and fun at the rink; we rocked it.” (Matt Mara, of the Beeze and men’s hockey league after a long day’s work). Proof that all work and some play makes Jack a happier and more rounded hockey volunteer.

The arena might be closed for business until July but outside the arena and the buzz of the work team, the high school hockey girls attracted a long line of people all day waiting to have their cars washed to raise funds for their teammate, varsity hockey player Ellie Hanjian, who is recovering from a recent car accident (speedy recovery, Ellie).

Many of the crew made sure to swing into the line and have their trucks washed before heading home for a shower after a job well done refreshing the rink.

The arena is alive and well (but in need of funds) and if you missed this Saturday, and with the success and input of the crew that rocked this Saturday past, there is another one coming.

So gather your tools to sharpen your skates.

Lara O’Brien
Vineyard Haven

For more information on becoming a rink warrior, email