The Grand Opening of the Cobbs Creek Skate House in the Park, in February 1985. Was the high point of Laura Sims community life.
It took him 12 years for his dream to come true for his beloved West Philadelphia community.
His campaign spanned the careers of three district councilors, but his main supporter and advocate were Councilman Lucien E. Blackwell.
The Beginning of Laura Sims Campaign
Laura Sims began campaigning in the early 1970s for a rink when she decided. That there needed to be a hockey/skating rink in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia.
A part of the world not previously known as the “nest” of hockey. After years of writing letters, petitioning, meetings, etc. His dream came true. It currently stands as the only permanent official Olympic-sized ice skating rink in the City of Philadelphia.
Ski Player’s First Member Recruitment
Even though he didn’t know much about the game of hockey. He thought that if other kids played it, the kids in his neighborhood should have a chance.
In 1985, Laura Sims, along with other organizers. Began recruiting hockey players – local kids who had no experience with the game. At its peak, more than 100 players, aged 5 to 16, later adding players aged 16 to 18, competed in the team.
About two-thirds of the players were African-American. And the others were young Caucasians from Delaware County.
Seeing the family skating together was very beneficial for Laura Sims. Because it was more than just skating being learned and experienced.
Children can skate together and form cross-racial friendships at a very early age. This helps deflate the stereotypes Laura Sims is fiercely fighting against. Several children from the community have become Olympic candidates.
Friends of Cobbs Creek Skate House Community Establishment
Mrs. Laura Sims formed the “Friends of Cobbs Creek Skate House,” made up of families and members of the community. The community’s purpose is to manage the rink’s programs and activities. This program includes:
- Ice skating
- Roller skating
- Youth ice hockey
- Sled hockey for the disabled
- Health fairs
- After-school lessons
- Family gatherings
- Group events
- Private parties
- Figure skating classes
- Dancing additional lines
- Activities of special interest to the community.
John, Sr., John, Jr. and Donna worked tirelessly to support Laura Sims in her initial campaign development efforts. And community organizing to make the Cobbs Creek Skate House a reality.
They also assist with fundraising, program implementation, and recruiting youth for hockey and skating programs.
Before the end of his death John, Jr. served as vice president of the Advisory Council for several years before passing away in 2014.