, Newburyport, MA

February 27, 2013

Ice or no ice, Kerrigan to visit Amesbury

Milder weather won't curtail tomorrow's event

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — Warm temperatures and sloppy weather could put a damper on tomorrow’s public skate-around with two-time Olympic figure skating medalist Nancy Kerrigan.

Kerrigan is scheduled to visit Amesbury Sports Park tomorrow from 4 to 6 p.m. for some skating and bonding with fans. But if the weather doesn’t cooperate, Amesbury Chamber of Commerce Director Melissa LaChance said the event might have to turn into more of a meet and greet.

“We’re going to make the call tomorrow whether it’s safe enough for her to skate, but she’ll be here regardless,” LaChance said.

The sports park built the 56-by-36-foot rink last week and LaChance said workers were able to freeze it initially. But mild temperatures over the past few days have caused the rink to thaw slightly.

The outlook over the next few days isn’t promising, either. The forecast calls for temperatures ranging between 34 and 41 degrees with high winds, rain and some snow today and then possibly more rain tomorrow — not exactly ideal conditions for an outdoor skating rink.

Regardless of the weather, LaChance said the event would still take place and guests will have the opportunity to meet Kerrigan, get a picture and an autograph, eat cookies and drink hot chocolate, use Amesbury Sports Park’s snow-tubing hill and participate in the Amesbury Lions Club’s book drive.

“We want that to be a big component of it,” LaChance said.

The skate-around was conceived as a fun event for the community where Kerrigan could come and skate around with local kids and her fans. LaChance said the chamber partnered with the Lions Club to help support its book drive so guests could donate a book instead of having to buy a ticket.

If no donation is made, admission will be $10 per adult and $5 per child.

Kerrigan, who is originally from Stoneham, has remained a popular Boston sports figure since her rise to prominence in the early 1990s when she won a bronze medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics and then a silver in 1994.

Since retiring after the 1994 Winter Olympics, Kerrigan has continued to maintain a presence in the figure skating world and frequently appears in various ice shows. She occasionally does television appearances too, recently working as a special correspondent to “Entertainment Tonight” during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Kerrigan agreed to come to Amesbury after LaChance reached out to her through a mutual friend.