While lacking the star power of his partners, New Hyde Park insurance agent Richard “Big Daddy” Salgado last week joined former New York Rangers Peter and Chris Ferraro in the groundbreaking of a $15 million hockey rink complex to be built in Eisenhower Park.
The 85,000-square foot complex, which will be known as the Ferraro Brothers Ice Center at Twin Rinks in Eisenhower Park will contain two National Hockey League-sized skating rinks intended for use by youth leagues, Salgado said.
Salgado said the venture was conceived to provide a state-of-the-art facility for hockey games and training to keep young hockey talent on Long Island. He said the center also will provide a venue for professional hockey scouts to evaluate local talent.
Pro hockey scouts, he said, don’t visit Long Island to evaluate young hockey players because of the absence of a facility like Twin Rinks.
“There’s not enough ice on Long Island. This will be one of the biggest, baddest arenas in the U.S.,” Salgado said.
Salgado, who is also a consultant on the venture, said construction of the facility is expected to be completed by September. He said he became involved in the project because the Ferraro brothers are his insurance clients.
He said the partners are currently lining up clients to use the facility. Salgado said the facility will also contain physical training facilities which could be used by NHL players during their off-season.
Salgado specializes in providing insurance to professional athletes. The Ferraro brothers both played for the New York Rangers during the 1995-96 NHL season. Chris Ferraro also played for the New York Islanders.
The complex will include four NBA/NCAA regulation basketball courts, a full-sized turf field with soccer and lacrosse lines and an outdoor recreational skating rink.
The $15 million project is privately funded, Salgado said, but required the approval of the Nassau County Legislature because it is located in Eisenhower Park.
In a statement about the project, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said the facility would be “ an exciting component of the Hub that will create jobs, complement Nassau’s sports-entertainment tourism plan and provide youth athletes access to world-class skating facility
Mangano participated in last week’s groundbreaking ceremonies. The Hub development project, centered on the Nassau Coliseum, has been left in limbo since the New York Islanders announced signing a 25-year lease with Brooklyn’s Barclay Center beginning with the 2015-16 season.
Salgado said the Twin Rinks facility in Eisenhower Park would be “open to everybody” and would hold hockey clinics and camps featuring NHL players in addition to facilitating youth league play.
“It will give these kids an opportunity they normally would not get,” Salgado said.
Salgado, an alumnus of New Hyde Park Memorial High School, has been involved in an effort to upgrade his alma mater’s football program.
A former football player at New Hyde Park Memorial, he helped organize fellow football alumni of New Hyde Park Memorial last season to collect donations for new football equipment. Salgado and the New Hyde Park football alumni also aim to raise money to eventually replace the existing football field at the high school with a turf field.