History of Laura Sims Skate House

1971 Laura Sims and a group of parents launched the concept for placing an ice rink in the Cobbs Creek Community, and gained essential support from City Councilman Lucien Blackwell to secure the land and obtain city funding.
1975-76 Capital budget hearings were held and funds were appropriated.
1983 Construction began.
1984 A "Name the Ice Facility" contest was held among schoolchildren. The name "Cobbs Creek Skate House in the Park" was entered by Tameka Hodges from Turner Middle School and was selected by a panel of 10 judges.
1985
  • Construction completed.
  • (February 9th) Cobbs Creek Skate House in the Park Grand Opening, making this the first ice skating rink built by a municipality or privately in an African-American community to be designed by an African-American architect, Theodore R. Capers (deceased), AIA, Principal Architect, Saxon & Capers.
  • Over 1,500 people attended the opening, and everyone interested in skating was given the opportunity and provided skates through the city's first skate rental.
1986 School Instructional Program began providing regular weekly lessons for local school children, a first for city rinks.
1986 Cobbs Creek Figure Skating School began, offering scholarships to neighborhood children and producing several Olympic hopefuls.
1986-87 Cobbs Creek Hockey Program for ages 5 through 17 began with support of Hockey Central. Participants received free equipment and lessons, along with skills training, cultural outings and trips to professional hockey games.
1989-90 Ice Hockey Program continued without Hockey Central.
1994 Partnered with Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia for First Annual Health Fair.
1996
  • Skate House reopens after being closed for two years for ice system repairs.
  • Financial support was received from Central City Toyota and other corporate sponsors.
  • Began hosting Sunday morning Sled Hockey for disabled individuals.
1997 Hosted the National Hockey League's Diversity Task Force Regional Hockey Tournament.
1998
  • (March 23rd) Sudden homegoing of beloved founder and president Mrs. Laura Sims.
  • (June) Bill passed by City Council to rename the Skate House "The Laura Sims Skate House In Cobbs Creek Park." Bill introduced by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and supported by Councilmen James Kenney, Frank Rizzo, Thatcher Longstreth, Michael Nutter and others.
1999
  • Co-Sponsor with American Cancer Society, Linda Creed Breast Cancer Center and other groups for Breast Cancer Awareness Symposium and Women's Health Day.
  • (December 18th) Renaming Celebration -- Skate House renamed the "Laura Sims Skate House in Cobbs Creek Park."
2000-01 Hockey team members participated in "Harmony In Hockey" Diversity Educational Program conducted by Philadelphia Flyers team players.
2001
  • (August) Partner with Philadelphia Maccabi Games Day of "Caring And Sharing" For Hockey And Basketball Clinics.
  • Partner with Mayor's Office of Health and Fitness for World's Largest New Year's Resolution -- over 200 autographs on giant tee shirt and signatures on 2002 "Fun, Fit and Free" declaration.
2003 Hosted 100 Youth From Ft. Dupont Youth Hockey Club, Washington, D.C.
2005 20th Anniversary Celebration.
2007 Partner With Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation for continuation of youth hockey programs.
2009 (November) Mrs. Pennsylvania guest for start of winter skating season.
2010 (September) Ms. Black USA guest and speaker at annual health fair.
2011
  • (April) Renovations and rink enclosure began with private and public partnership funding from Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (ESYHF), City of Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ESYHF Charter Members.
  • (November) Rink reopened, hosting Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and offering 10 months of ice skating and hockey and July and August for roller skating and other non-ice activities.
2012 (March) Hosted Northeast U.S. Sled Hockey League Weekend Tournament.
2014 (July) Philly Roller Girls Professional Team Skating Exhibition.
2013-15 (July) Resumed Annual Health, Wellness & Resouces Fair in partnership with community organizations. Over 500 attendees and 100 exhibitors.
2015-16 30th Pearl Anniversary celebrated with Awards Dinner.

Other Significant Highlights

1991-98 Hosted Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Annual Craft Bazaar.
2005 Participant with State Senator Anthony H. Williams "Living a Healthy Lifestyle: Walking the Walk" -- a two-mile walk promoting the benefit of exercise for good health and decreasing the risk of illness.
2005 Site of Mass Community Rally for Hurricane Relief Fund organized by "Millions More Movement" and "Million Woman March."