When George Haviland walked around the likes of Gold Coast Arena in Wall and Ocean Ice Palace in Brick in the past — the two most well-known ice arenas along with Jersey Shore — he realized something was missing.
As a result of his findings, Haviland, along with a team of employees, put together and constructed Howell Ice World this past winter, an ice rink filled with a little bit of something for everyone of all ages.
Home of the New Jersey Titans, one of the most respected club teams in the state, Haviland, whose brother, Mike, is an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, Howell Ice World is pleased to accommodate several activities.
"There was such a demand for quality ice, that's the main reason it was built," Darly O'Connell, the director of Marketing for the arena said. "It's a green facility, it's a good place for group events, it's just a good place."
One of the most impressive features on the building, which opened during Christmas week of 2010, is their rapid shot, which is basically virtually a batting cage for hockey players. The facility is the only one in the state that provides this sort of activity.
The arena also offers a gym, where players or parents can become full-time members and use it at their expense.
One of the latest additions to the facility is a Subway restaurant that opened this week.
"Even if you're not here for hockey and have an hour for lunch and you work locally, you can stop by," O'Connell said.
The arena is also run "green" using heat through the floors and their zambonies run electrically -- a nice feature.
Serving as the home of the Titans, players are now provided with locker rooms that include leather sofas, plasma screen televisions and plenty of space for their equipment.
Titans' players also have a separate entrance to the ice that no other team playing is allowed to use.
"The Titans were definitely a driving force for this arena," O'Connell said.
In honor of their primary tenants, the arena's walls are painted red and black, the colors of the Titans. The arena is also the home of the Lady Titans, who competed last year for the first time.
The arena features two rinks -- one full-sized NHL rink, which is called the main arena, and one half-sized rink, which is referred to as the pond.
Currently, the arena is the home of several in-house leagues for high schools. There are also plans to host several tournaments throughout the summer, including Puckfest at the Jersey Shore, July 8-10.
Mike Haviland also will be hosting a clinic with Blackhawks captain Patrick Kane and defensemen Dustin Byfuglien, from Aug. 1-5, giving children a chance to learn from today's stars.
Once the high school hockey season rolls around again this winter, it is believed that four or five teams will call the ice in Farmingdale home. Currently most teams in the growing Shore Conference hockey scene are packed into either the facility in Wall or in Brick with the rest playing at either at the Red Bank Armory or Winding River in Toms River.
In addition to hockey, the rink also will provide an opportunity for Howell residents to get out of the heat for public skating sessions during the summer. As an added bonus, public skating will offer a two for the price of one deal.
O'Connell also said that the arena is looking for any non-profit orgranization that is looking to raise money for fundraisers to contact Howell Ice World.
In the past, the Colts Neck Fire Department played their Devils alumni game there, and the Howell High School National Honors Society raised money there as well.
"If anyone is looking for something a little different, we would like to accommodate them," she said.
The arena is also a great location for birthday parties where sections of the grandstand would be cut off for privacy for the parties.
They will also be holding weekly summer camp sessions. Not only are there camps, but there are also opportunities for people to come in and either learn how to skate for the first time or sharpen their skills on the ice.
It is believed that close to 250,000 people will come through the doors this year whether they are trying to get out of the heat or melting the ice with their skating abilities.