Ray St. John's 8-year-old son, R.J., plays hockey at Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania four or five days a week, all year long.
At $2 a gallon, you can imagine the gas bill the St. John family accumulates going round trip - 64 miles - each day from its home in Curtice, near Anchor Point, to Tam-O-Shanter.
Wouldn't it be ideal for hockey players and skating enthusiasts who live in the Genoa-Oregon-Curtice area to have a centrally located rink? It makes sense to Ray St. John.
"The ideal thing for everybody is you split the diameter into a 10- or 12-minute ride between all three of them - Genoa, Oregon and Curtice," St. John said. "I would love it. It would be selfish for me to say I would want it in my backyard. To realistically get it done, if we were within 10 miles of each place, everybody would be happy.
"We've been talking about it for years. The ice is so valuable. You go to Tam-O and you see people from Sylvania there, and they live two minutes from the rink. It would be nice to get (a rink) out by us, so local kids could stay local."
Caleb Williams, the son of Genoa Mayor Mark Williams, is good friends with R.J. St. John. The two young boys play on the same hockey all-star team.
Mark Williams is familiar with what parents in the Genoa area have to do to get their kids some ice time.
"We played at Tam-O this year and we've been going down to Fremont on Friday nights to get him extra ice time," Williams said of his son. "He played in Fremont for a couple years. We go to Tam-O to either practice or play at least once or twice a week. It's a good half hour one way, and there's no easy way to get there (from Genoa)."
The mayor said he would like to see some type of ice rink built on the east end of Toledo.
"There are a lot of kids in Genoa, a couple kids in Elmore, kids in Curtice, they all go out to Tam-O," Williams said. "Kids in Elmore play down in Fremont. You've got kids all over the area right around Genoa. There are probably 12-15 kids between Genoa, Curtice and Martin who are playing in Fremont and at Tam-O."
Craig Horvath, who just finished his second season as the hockey coach at Lake, has two sons who play hockey. Younger son Dominick plays travel hockey, and older son Tony plays for Lake.
Lake uses Tam-O-Shanter as its home rink for games, but it practices in Monroe, Mich., twice a week. Monroe is a 50-mile round trip from Lake Township.
"We're all over the place," Craig Horvath said. "We play at Monroe, or Bowling Green, or Ottawa Park. We're putting in thousands and thousands of miles. It's 54 miles for me to drive to Tam-O and back. We go to Adrian a lot. It's what you do if you're a hockey person, but you get used to it."
Williams said putting in an ice rink can be costly, and he is trying to get feedback from the Genoa community about just such a plan. One possibility is to put in a rink using synthetic ice, which can be skated on outdoors year-round.
"It's some type of silicone - I have a sample piece," Williams said. "It's costly to start a rink; 4x8 sheets of synthetic ice is roughly $500. The good thing about it is you can make a rink as big as you want.
"A place in West Virginia has it and they add on to it every year. I'm just looking into it to see if anybody in Genoa is interested in it, and not just because my kid plays hockey. Nobody else around here has (synthetic ice); the thing is, where are you going to get the funding to do it?
"The cost is the big key. Once you get it, you can pay it off real fast because it's easy to maintain. Once you get it built, now you can just charge people $2 or $3 to skate and you can make your money off that.
ou can have Lake come over and practice on it and charge them to use it. You could have it up all year long."
Williams said two factors will have to be looked into before Genoa puts together an ice rink: Where to put it, and where to get the funding.
"It would be a great asset for anybody that would do it," Williams said. "There is a mall in Minnesota that uses it. The durability is something like eight years."
Williams said he has brought up the idea of installing synthetic ice with the park board, but he intends to gather more information before bringing the idea before village council.
"From what I understand, there is interest in it," Williams said. "What I have to watch for is somebody thinking, 'he's the mayor and his son plays hockey.' That's not why I'm doing it. It's an activity. It's something different in this area that isn't here.
"I want to try to think of something new and exciting to do in Genoa that would bring people to the community. It's a great opportunity for anybody that can afford to do it."