A long awaited ice rink opened its doors to the public on Saturday.
Goleta's Ice in Paradise held a ribbon cutting for the soft opening of the facility at 6985 Santa Felicia Drive.
There were plenty of smiles and cheers as people skated on the NHL-sized hockey rink for the first time.
"I've been waiting over thirty years for this," said Tina Kerrigan of Santa Barbara.
Jack Norqual, a long-time hockey player and retired businessman, was instrumental in turning the ice rink into a reality.
"We did not compromise. We could have compromised and done something to a lesser degree but we felt that people waited long enough," Norqual said.
Norqual also brought in Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider who helped finance the project.
"This is going to be a tremendous asset to the community for all the kids that need so many things to do. I am just thrilled we are going to be able to have it," Snider said.
The $15 million dollar facility, which broke ground last November will provide a place for local figure skaters and hockey players to train closer to home.
"It's so much nicer, I can't even tell you. It feels like you are playing in a college stadium. We're hoping we get some students at games and hoping for success with that now that we are 2 and 0," said Will Hahn of the Santa Barbara Royals hockey team.
"I'll be able to skate more times a day," said figure skater Valentina Juricek of Santa Barbara.
Former LA Kings hockey player Luc Robitaille said hockey is a fast-growing sport in sunny California.
"Kids love to skate. There's something about it right now. There's been tremendous growth and there's a lot of kids playing in the NHL who are from California," Robitaille said.
Norqual said this facility has something for everyone, including adaptive athletes and people who just want to have fun.
There will also be a place to kids to do their homework after school.
There are still some finishing touches that need to be completed before the official grand opening in November.