Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association (GSBISA)


July 30, 2012



Our mission is to construct and operate an affordable, non-profit public ice skating recreational facility for the enjoyment of the youth, adults and families of our community.



Our vision is to have an ice skating rink open and available to the entire community in 2013.



 “A rink, a rink, my kingdom for a rink!  Those of us who grew up with a rink in the ‘hood know its value to the whole community.  Moms, dads and kids can skate and/or play hockey their entire lives. It’s great for socializing, fitness, parties, lessons and competition.  My family is excited, and I look forward to seeing you there!”-- Alan Thicke, Actor


“With Isla Vista and the UCSB campus situated thirteen miles from Santa Barbara, there has always been an issue of how to provide constructive entertainment and recreation for UCSB students. We face a significant unmet need, and I am certain that an ice skating rink will be a tremendous benefit to both the campus and the entire GoletaValley.” --Yonie Harris, Dean of Students, UCSB


“Exposing children to the cultural/artistic side of life can be difficult.  Figure skating enriched my life early on, by exposing my ear to classical music, my body to dance training and an understanding of what it takes to be an accomplished athlete: dedication, discipline and determination.  It is my hope that the residents of Santa Barbara will recognize the great potential this endeavor will give to our youth.”

--Francesca Vallani, former professional figure skater


“The majority of my 19 year pro-hockey career was as a member of the LA Kings.  During that time, I witnessed the strong growth of hockey and other ice skating sports in all of California.  I know the value that an ice arena brings to a community and am certain that it will bring great enjoyment to the families and residents in the Greater Santa Barbara Area.  The LA Kings and I strongly endorse the building of the new ice arena as it will become a valuable asset to your community!” --Luc Robitaille, President of Business Operations, LA Kings Hockey Team


“A Santa Barbara rink will be so much more than just a place to play ice hockey, the greatest game on earth.  It will be somewhere for kids to go, as it was for me, instead of hanging out around town on a Saturday night.  Some of the best lessons in life can be learned there, like how to compete or how to be part of a team.  At the very least, it is where people of all ages will be able to get together to experience the exhilarating feeling of gliding across a sheet of ice.” --Stephen Heinze, 11 year NHL Veteran, Santa Barbara Resident, GSBISA Board Member, Parent, US Olympic Team



The GSBISA was established in 2003 as a non-profit organization with the goal of constructing and operating an affordable, public ice skating recreational facility for the enjoyment of the youth, adults and families of our community.

GSBISA launched an $8 million capital campaign, Ice in Paradise, to invite the community to invest in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—to build Santa Barbara County’s first state-of-the-art ice skating facility for the enjoyment people of all ages and abilities.  The ice rink will be located adjacent to the soccer fields at Girsh Park on Santa Felicia Drive in Goleta, California.

Once built, the permanent public ice skating center will provide ongoing recreation and entertainment for people of all ages and abilities for many years to come. We will be providing programs, scholarships, discounted fees and services to underserved, at-risk youth in the county. We are proud of the fact that this rink will be the first facility west of the Mississippi with full-service adaptive sports capabilities.

There has only been one ice skating rink in Santa Barbara. From 1975-1986 a for-profit ice rink, the Ice Patch, was located on the Mesa, and was owned by families who had personal involvement in ice skating. The motivation to own and operate the rink was lost when the family member who skated grew up.  Interest costs were high, as were utility costs for the non-energy efficient building, and the business did not make money.  Meanwhile, real estate values had risen since it was built, so the rink was closed and the building sold to a developer for conversion to office space.


There has long been a need for family-oriented recreational activities in Santa BarbaraCounty.   In the Santa Barbara area there are a limited number of programs and opportunities for kids at all income levels.  The county is experiencing an increase in substance abuse, adverse activity and law breaking among adolescents.  The Ice Rink will provide afterschool and evening activities; public skating sessions and Learn to Skate programs which will help get kids off the streets, while providing a safe and supervised venue.    We will be developing programs for at-risk youth which will provide both physical and mental health benefits to our youth as well as opportunities for character building, cooperation, increasing self-confidence, self-esteem and teamwork.

Since there is currently no available ice rink in the Santa Barbara county, residents and visitors who wish to participate in recreational skating, figure skating and ice hockey must travel considerable distances to other counties. The closest rink is in Simi Valley or Valencia (both more than 65 miles away).  There are 300 roller hockey youth who are unable to advance to ice hockey, due to the lack of a nearby facility. Even more unfortunate are the thousands of families and youth who may never experience the thrill and enjoyment of ice skating or learn to skate at all, because they lack a venue in which to do it.

This new state-of-the-art ice skating facility will be more than just a building. It will be a place for children to bond with parents, neighbors to connect with each other, friends to share quality time, and for kids and adults alike to discover the joy of learning a new skill or perfecting an old talent.

More children, adults and families will also be able to participate in public skate sessions, Learn to Skate programs, birthday parties, figure skating and/or ice dancing or hockey with an ice skating facility in our community. Community groups will also have opportunities for special events and private gatherings. The skating rink will provide healthy community recreation for all ages and all ability levels, families, youth-at-risk, schools, colleges and community groups. 

Several national, world and Olympic figure skating champions, including Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan are from California and trained in the state during their careers. USA Women’s Hockey star Angela Ruggiero, who competed in the 2010 winter games, grew up in Simi Valley.  California is the home of some of the top figure skating coaches and training venues in the world. There are three National Hockey League teams and several minor professional league hockey teams in California, each with their own fan base.



In 1997, Santa Barbara County approved the development of the Camino Real Marketplace. The approval included Girsh Park and an ice skating rink. The rink was included in the approval because of the overwhelming community support for an ice rink, demonstrated by a petition containing thousands of signatures from residents. The developer of Camino Real Marketplace, Wynmark Company, obtained approval for a 44,000 square foot ice skating arena, and then installed infrastructure improvements, including storm drains and a parking lot.

The 1.3 acre site has been legally gifted to GSBISA by Wynmark Company to advance the project. Conceptual building plans have been submitted by David Van Hoy Architect in collaboration with Blackbird Architects.  The rink has approval from the City of Goleta and the County of Santa Barbara, and GSBISA has filed an initial building permit with the City of Goleta. Two separate planning studies have been conducted by professional firms.  Canlan has confirmed the feasibility of building and sustaining the facility over time based on projected community usage and Netzel Grigsby has confirmed the soundness of the capital campaign.


GSBISA’s current goal is to raise $4 million to reach our benchmark, moving us to the design/build phase. We will break ground when we reach the $6 million mark. The outcome is the successful completion of all the tasks involved in the $8 million capital campaign, including public relations, community outreach and the program development necessary for the project’s success.  This will be measured by 1) raising the $8 million in gifts and pledges; 2) completion and acceptance of the architectural plans; 3) ground breaking and construction progress and completion; 4) opening of the facility to the public; 5) successful ongoing operations and support of the facility. 


GSBISA’s goal is to build a new ice rink facility with the main rink based on National Hockey League ice size standards. The rink will provide year-round community enjoyment, with an emphasis on activities for our youth. The new facility will include the following features: main rink surface of 17,000 square feet, with boards and tempered glass: a secondary junior ice rink of 6,000 square feet:  seating for up to 200 people:  spectator areas including space for off-ice recreation: six dressing rooms with self-contained showers:  a food concession: lockers and a party room. Construction will take an estimated nine months.

The facility will be fully ADA accessible, and one of the four main Locker Rooms will be fully equipped as well as accessible for disabled patrons.  The adaptive sports program elements will be developed in coordination with other local nonprofits serving people with disabilities.

The ice rink will offer a variety of recreational opportunities to a diverse audience. GSBISA anticipates its core audience to be local youth as well as university students, with residents and visitors of all ages welcome to participate. Planned services include:  ●public skate sessions● public theme events and birthday parties● Learn to Skate programs ●scholarship programs so that interested youth can participate ●figure skating ●ice dancing ●hockey development programs,  hockey camps ●youth and adult hockey leagues ●hockey and figure skating tournaments and competitions ●broomball ●partnerships with local schools and colleges for educational programs ●sports camps ●curriculum offerings and social gatherings  ●corporate functions ●meetings ●team building social events and special events for private use.

Besides being fun, ice skating also provides a unique recreational setting for young and old alike that will be open to the public year-round. It’s a great way for families and friends to participate together, day or night, in any kind of weather. This will be a permanent asset that will benefit the community in many different ways including education and personal development, health, human services and recreation.