Skaters and ice hockey teams “devastated” by closure of Planet Ice in Norwich

Ice skaters, ice hockey teams and youth clubs have been left 'devastated' and are facing the prospect of 160-mile round trips to continue their hobby, after Norwich's only ice rink was closed down.

The owners of Planet Ice, in Drayton High Road, announced that the rink was being closed with immediate effect on Tuesday.

Now skaters will have to travel to either Peterborough or Chelmsford to take to the ice.

The Norwich Norsemen ice hockey team have been hit hard by the closure, as they are currently preparing for one of their biggest tournaments of the year, in Sheffield.

They had to move their training session on Wednesday night to Peterborough at late notice and captain Liam Maguire, 38, from Hethersett, said the rink's closure leave's the team with an uncertain future. He said: 'It has been a total and utter blow. We play because we love it. Ice hockey is not a cheap sport. It's not like going down the park to play football on a Sunday.

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'Whether it will be financially viable or not now, I don't know. The time and the cost of an 160-mile round trip to Peterborough might be too much for some of our players.'

Gail White, 58, from Hainford, has been a regular user of the ice rink as part of a synchronised skating team. She said: 'Everybody in the skating world in Norwich is devastated. So many people skated there, from little ones to ice hockey teams and Christmas shows being performed there.

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'All the kids that have lessons there, it is going to be a nightmare for their parents.

'Planet Ice is pretty much the biggest ice rink company that could have taken it on, so I can't imagine anyone else making it work there.'

Ashley Brooks, 49, from Brundall, had bought a six-week skating course for his daughter, Geogina, for her 18th birthday, but they are now amongst many left disappointed.

Mr Brooks said: 'My daughter did get a call saying they were going to have to cancel and she would get a refund so we were very disappointed.'

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