• Campion Rink
  • Skating Club at Dartmouth
  • Singing anthem
  • Scoring a goal
  • Players
  • View of rink

They Made It Happen

“The difference between a problem and an opportunity frequently is a point of view”

It was about four years ago that Dartmouth College reached the decision that Davis Rink, the home for countless skaters for more than half a century, would be razed to make way for the John W. Berry Sports Center.

The departure of Davis Rink, without question, was a problem. But, virtually from the day it was determined that Thompson Arena would be Dartmouth’s only ice facility, people from all corners of the Upper Valley began to lay plans for what is now a symbol of community spirit – The James W. Campion III Rink.

The problem that became an opportunity has today become a reality.

It didn’t just happen. It grew from the dedication, generosity and hard work of countless people who made it happen!

The Campion Rink is their story. Their reward has been apparent during the weeks since the rink opened in December. Boys, girls, men, women — anyone who enjoys the pleasure of lacing on a pair of skates and taking to the ice — have found a new home.

Coaching hockey

How did it happen? Because people cared and got involved. The Campion Rink is their story. What follows tells the story of participation and contribution. Big and small. Kids and adults. Dartmouth College. Hanover and Lebanon. Generosity. Community spirit.

Ted Leland, Athletic Director at Dartmouth College and Hanover Town Manager, Cliff Vermilya
Ted Leland, Athletic Director at Dartmouth College and Hanover Town Manager, Cliff Vermilya

It really began when Ted Leland, Dartmouth’s athletic director, put together a meeting to address the problem created by the loss of Davis Rink. The group included Steve Whitman, Tom Gosselin, Mike Choukas, Linda Twombly, George Crowe, Jack Turco, Jack Davis, Seaver Peters, Jack Skewes, Roger Ball, Doug Kennedy, Rod Story, Frank Stevenson, Uwe Bagnato.

In the early going, Jack Turco authored the statement that brought the need for the rink into focus and addressed the necessity for Dartmouth’s active support.

Meetings followed meetings. The need for a community rink to replace Davis was obvious but a catalyst was missing. It came from the Campion family.

Plans to honor the late Jim Campion with a recreation facility began shortly after his death in 1982 but didn’t materialize. The rink brought new life to the plan.

Dottie Campion-Corcoran and friends
Ground breaking: Dottie Campion-Corcoran and friends

Jim’s wife, Dorothy Campion-Corcoran, his brother, Ron, and their families agreed: A rink serving skating programs from all area communities would be an ideal tribute. Their spiritual and financial support added the missing dimension.

Support grew from Dartmouth. The Hanover Improvement Society became another key with its administrative (and subsequent financial) support of the project. AMCA International’s gift of the above-ground structure was a major step as the fund-raising effort began.

Frank J. Stevenson photo
Frank J. Stevenson, Executive Vice President of AMCA International, a key resource from the beginning

And so it began. And grew. The Sachem Field site in West Lebanon was made available by Dartmouth and the Town of Hanover.

…Ken Leclair (site engineering), Gordie DeWitt (Dartmouth’s director of facilities planning) and attorneys Dave Bradley and Jay Cooper all were instrumental in providing answers and alternatives as the project made its way through the municipal approval process in Lebanon.

…The City of Lebanon provided rebates on an assortment of fees. Throughout the project, Tom Gosselin was a constant resource in helping bring people together.

Problems were identified, addressed, solved. It took the better part of two years. The campaign to raise the funds continued throughout and still hasn’t stopped. The spirit to make it happen flourished.

The names of the several hundred people whose financial generosity made the Campion Rink a reality are listed in this dedication program. But it was more than money. People got involved.

…Architect David Mclntire and Gordon Graham (mechanical engineering) took the project to heart as they drew the plans and refined details.

…George Crowe called virtually every rink in the Northeast to gather information on refrigeration systems. He discovered the system coming from Davis Rink was better than most. Bob Reid’s construction expertise was a bonus.

Lou Bressett and Sharon Nordgren
Lou Bressett, president of the Hanover Improvement Society, and co-chairman of the Campion Rink Committee is flanked by Steve Whitman and Sharon Nordgren, chairman of the Hanover Board of Selectmen

…Gordie Clark, the former UNH skater who manages the new municipal rink in Portland, Me., gave timely information on how to avoid the various problems encountered during construction of that rink.

There were numerous suppliers of equipment and building materials whose generosity with donations or at-cost contributions saved thousands of dollars.

…Davis Rink came down. Vermont Log Buildings, Trumbull-Nelson and Whitman Press provided the space to store the dasher boards, heavy refrigeration equipment and miles of pipe that were destined to have a new home in Campion Rink. Another Dartmouth donation.

…When Alumni Gym became the next step in Dartmouth’s athletic facility improvement plan, P&C’s Len Cashman provided space to store the bleachers now in the new rink.

…When the heavy equipment needed to be moved, a call to Dick Decato brought the standard response: “What do you want us to do?” The Decato Brothers truck was on its way.

…New England Equipment (Rudy Farmer and Bob Williams) provided a backhoe below cost for three months.

…Materials for the building and utilities came at cost or as donations from K-Ross (Fred Carleton), La Valley Building Supply (Harold LaValley), Johnson’s Home Center (Pete Johnson), Miller Ready-Mix Concrete and The Block Plant (Tom Busconi and Tom Bascetta), Red Hed Supply (Ron Viarengo) and Pike Industries.

… When it was determined that the Davis Rink ice surface should be increased from 185 to 200 feet, Tom White at Vermont Log Buildings built the additional boards to enclose the additional area.

Kip Downs and David McIntire
Kip Downs of Mooney Corporation, construction manager for the rink, and architect David McIntire

…”Mooney Corporation of Laconia, the construction manager, has been outstanding throughout,” said Tod Schweizer, the building committee chairman whose efforts have been extraordinary. “They’ve been a great bunch to work with. Steve McNeil helped us solve problems and stuck with the original bid for the rink despite the numerous changes that surfaced.”

Dennis Welcome, Mooney’s foreman, and Ross Currier, the job supervisor: Said Schweizer, “Their interest is in the towns and the kids. They listened, kept us on target for deadlines, and did all we asked”

…Bruce Tomlinson and Dick George led the crew from Northeast Distributors Inc. of Rockland, Mass., that installed the refrigeration system. “They took a pile of nuts, bolts, pipes and fittings from the Davis system that was built 35 years ago and rebuilt it into a working system. They’d walk around with torches and cutters, find the piece they needed, and make it all fit together,” said Schweizer.

Young figure skaters

…Ware & Scotco Construction (Lee Ware) did the masonry work including placement of the old bricks and granite from Davis Rink that are a central display in the lobby. Incidentally, you had to be there in the rain and snow last spring to appreciate the efforts of Glenn Cloud and the gang of Hanover skaters and fathers who chipped and cleaned more than 1,000 bricks from Davis Rink for the commemorative wall.

…Quality Mechanical of Lebanon, Wil Buskey’s firm, handled the heating and plumbing.

…Granite State Electric made its equipment available and a crew led by Vic Tremblay donated their time to bring electrical service to the building site.

…Defiance Electric (Jay Boucher, Kevin Stone) installed the electrical system.

…Noel Vincent Trucking donated two years of free rubbish removal.

…Dick Hauger, Mike Chase and the Town of Hanover’s public works crew, along with the Hanover Water Company (Carl Brink), solved countless problems and saved countless dollars relating to water, sewer, parking and other exterior site needs.

…Brian McCloskey, the former Dartmouth hockey captain now coaching in Maine and managing the North Yarmouth Academy rink, arranged donation of the rubber matting that protects skates on walkways and dressing rooms.

…Chet Wilmot, who oversees the refrigeration system at Thompson Arena and ran the system in Davis, lent his advice. The American flag in Campion Rink is Chet’s gift. It was used last at his brother’s funeral.

And then there were the fund-raising events…

…Sandy Hall, Mary DeWitt and Lillian DeVaux developed and maintained the record of donation.

…Joe Stallsmith organized and sponsored the first event (a triathlon) three years ago that produced $1,000.

…The Follies are a story in themselves … two spectacular variety shows at the Lebanon Opera House in 1986 and 1987 that raised nearly $40,000. The question was: Did the audience or the cast have the most fun? The Follies involved many, many people but the top of the list for organization and hard work is reserved for Jessica Davis, Karen Washburn, Sue Scull, Linda Oidtmann, Karen Roberts, and on and on. The dilemma is to list a few because there’s not enough space for everyone who deserves mention.

…Landers Restaurant was host for the first cast party.

…Peter Christian’s (Murray Washburn) was always responsive with refreshments for just about any special event.

Linda Twombly and Mary Ann Holbrook led Skate-a-thons…The Hanover skate-a-thons drew big response and generous support thanks to Mary Ann Holbrook, Linda Twombly and the Crookers (Midge and Bill). Thanks to Darrel Clark, WTSL made music for the skaters.

…Jack and Mary Turco organized the Hanover Streetfest raffles and Vermont Castings (Duncan Syme) donated not only its fine stoves as prizes for various raffles but also coming will be a specially made set of Vermont Castings benches for the lobby. One stove was won by Peter Brine who proceeded to write a check to the rink project for $500 to “buy” his prize.

…Ty Hemmert and Steve Hughes, seventh graders at Hanover’s Richmond School, organized a streetfest raffle of a go-cart, hustled tickets and donated nearly $200 to the rink fund.

And there were others…Jon Tonseth designed the Campion Rink logo and Valley Sign (Matt Brown) donated the large signs beside Route 10 and the beautiful sign in the rink.

…Marion Bratesman organized various media events.

…George Hathorn designed the plaques that will be displayed throughout the rink later this year.

Mike Choukas photo
Mike Choukas chaired the fund-raising committee

…Mike Choukas, Mike McGean, Seaver Peters, Harry Johnson, John Manchester, Posey Fowler and Henry Eberhardt were leaders of the fund-raising campaign.

The various committees that have worked during the past three years to make The Campion Rink become a reality are recorded in this program. Similarly, the hundreds who provided financial support.

Through it all, though, there are a special few who deserve particular thanks. Without them, the Campion Rink would still be only an idea.

Dottie Campion-Corcoran and Ron Campion brought Jim Campion’s spirit to the project.

Lou Bressett, co-chairman of the Campion Rink Committee, led the Hanover Improvement Society to its prominent role.

Hanover Town Manager Cliff Vermilya, a constant resource.

Dartmouth’s support was directed by Jack Skewes and Gordie DeWitt.

Tod Schweizer, chairman of the building committee, played a critical hands-on role to oversee all phases of construction.

Steve Whitman photo
Steve Whitman's late arrival at the first meeting proved to be great timing for the Campion Rink Project

And, especially, Steve Whitman, who was late for that initial meeting in 1984. He arrived to learn he had been elected to lead the project. From the first day, Steve became the driving force in the fulfillment of a dream that has become reality — The James W. Campion III Rink.