Photo: Carol Barton
The game of hockey and improvements to local rinks are always growing around the DMV. In this piece, we’ll take a look at how the Washington Capitals are partnering up with the Matthew & Daniel Barton Memorial Rink in Hanover, Virginia.
Matthew and Daniel played hockey when they were very young and loved the sport. The two played ice hockey and inline at local facilities. The rink at Courthouse Park on Route 301 was built twenty years ago in honor and memory of Matthew and Daniel Barton, who lost their lives due to disease at a young age. The brothers’ parents Douglas and Carol set up community fundraising and donated the rink to Hanover County.
Photos: Carol Barton
Ever since then, the rink has been used for middle school hockey, tournaments, pick-up hockey, and fundraisers for several organizations.
In April 2020, the rink was shut down because of repairs and the removal and replacement of the surface was likely. Hanover County Parks and Recreation own and operate the rink and the county advised the Bartons it would take possibly 3-4 years to receive available funding. Carol created a GoFundMe page to save and restore the beloved rink.
The fundraiser has reached nearly $20,000 in the $50,000 goal. Doswell Energy Center has also donated an additional $25,000 towards the rink. On May 21, 2021, Peter Robinson, director of Capitals’ Youth Hockey Development, and the Capitals partnered and made a $100,000 investment in the Matthew & Daniel Barton Memorial Rink for refurbishments.
The Capitals are no strangers helping out local rinks and spreading the sport of hockey around Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and D.C. The organization agreed to furnish, replace and install the street hockey/inline skating rink as a donation to the County. The Capitals will also replace and provide all rink boards, goal frames, fencing, and new plastic skating tiles. A scoreboard will be added if funding allows, and the County will display the Capitals logo on the site. All Hanover County Public Elementary and Middle Schools and Hanover Parks & Recreation will receive street hockey equipment and training.
“This is a great example of teamwork with community partners,” Cold Harbor District Supervisor Michael Herzberg said, calling it a “win-win-win” for everyone, including the taxpayers. Herzberg is also a member of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee.
Robinson indicated renovations could start as early as July, and he hoped it would be completed by the end of August. The anticipated completion and reopening is September 15, 2021.
Carol Barton said the family is “so thrilled” for what’s to come. “We are thankful for all of the support, from the community and from the Board and Doswell Energy and the Capitals,” she said, adding, “So many people said, ‘Tell us what we can do to help’. We are very lucky to have had such support from everyone.”
“We haven’t done any other projects like this,” Robinson said. “Most of our other projects have been [municipally] driven to refurbish facilities that needed an update. This is a resident-led initiative that is getting accomplished because the community came together to save a facility they love. We’re coming in to help save something that was going to disappear. It’s been a pleasure to work with the Barton family and Hanover County on this and we’ve found it very rewarding.”
By Della Young