How an outdoor hockey rink was saved in Southwest Detroit

- Ice skating, carriage rides, face-painting - what more could you ask for?  It's the annual Clark Park Winter Carnival, Saturday February 27th in the heart of Southwest Detroit.

It's family fun - with food, a petting zoo, music and more from Noon until 4:00pm! 

FOX 2's M.L. Elrick is playing in the Clark Park Winter Carnival Hockey Classic. His team is taking the ice against defense attorney Mike Rataj. The two haven't always seen eye-to-eye but are determined to settle their differences on the ice!

The Clark Park Coalition provides amazing opportunities for children - offering one of the nation's only free inner-city hockey programs, on the only regulation-sized outdoor ice hockey rink in Metro Detroit. They also offer athletics and after-school youth programming.

One of the guys behind it is Ziggy Gonzales. He helped save the rink that is the only outdoor, regulation-sized, skating rink in the city. He's been around since before there was a rink.

"They had a kidney-shaped pond in about the middle of the park (and) that's where we played our hockey. We would turn two benches over and that was the goalies' net, at either side. We'd put on our states at the rinkside, it was cold but we didn't notice - we were kids," Ziggy said.

At one time, the city had eight rinks but in the 1990s, facing cutbacks, the city decided they needed to close them all, except for Clark Park. He says the park has two goals.

"We've always got something for the kids to do. It's always the same thing: keep em out of gangs and keep them away from drugs. Those are basically are two biggest enemies," Ziggy said.

Watch M.L. Elrick's skatearound with Ziggy in the video above and be sure to show up Saturday for Clark Park Winter Carnival Hockey Classic.

Want to know more? CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!

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