RINGWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey rink will be closed for the remainder of the season after trespassers ducked through a hole in the fence and destroyed the ice by skating on it too early.
"It is with much sadness that we have to announce that our Ice Rink will be closed for the rest of the season," Ringwood Parks and Recreation wrote on Facebook. "Unfortunately, we had some skaters who were not willing to wait until the ice was ready and climbed the fencing around the rink while it was closed."
In addition to the ice damage, officials said the skaters also punctured holes in the liner beneath the ice.
"This not just one hole, this is like up to 17 holes," Ringwood recreation director Ryan Lacorte said. "We can't fill it with water anymore. It won't hold water, and all the water that wasn't frozen seeped out of the rink. So now it can't hold water, and now all these areas are unsuable."
It's painful for Lacorte, who is also a hockey coach, to look at the damage. He says getting a new liner just isn't an option. The rink is 200 feet by 90 feet, and a new liner requires a special order that will take at least a month to arrive. Then there's the installation, filling the rink with water, and waiting for some freezing temperatures from Mother Nature.
By then, the season is largely over.
A dedicated team from the Public Works Department spent weeks getting the rink ready for another winter season, and thanks to roughly $10,000 in damage, its closure effectively shuts down the youth hockey program, practice sessions for the high school players, and a popular weekend gathering spot for parents and their kids.
"That's just terrible," parent Lindsay Tuit said. "The kids just want to have fun, just play on the ice. And now it's ruined, and it's January. They have two more months that they could have played on it. It's just terrible."
The rink is located off Sloatsburg Road near the Hewitt School.
"We apologize to all who looked forward to having fun on the rink this winter and also to our Public Works employees who worked so hard on it to get it ready," the Facebook post read.
Further information on the suspects was not available.