With This Rink, I Thee Wed

Ohio Couple Turns Their Wedding Day Into An Icy Affair

The groom was on edge, and the bride had cold feet. Literally.

Still, it was only fitting as Ally Rice and Josh Hansen were married at center ice at the Rocky River Ice Arena in suburban Cleveland. Both are long-time hockey players with deep family roots in the game. They met at the rink seven years ago and fell in love in part because of their love of the sport. So it just felt right to tie the knot in a hockey-themed wedding.

“We always joked about having our wedding at the rink because we met there,” said Ally, who took time away from the game to pursue her master’s degree and a career as a kindergarten teacher in the Franklin City Schools in Dayton.

“We’re hockey people. It was kind of a big joke at first and then we said, ‘Why not do it? It would be cool.’”

They did so with the full blessing of Ally’s mother, Pam, who also met her husband, Jim, at the same facility where she is still the ice scheduler and co-director of the local Learn to Play program.

“They loved the idea,” Ally said. “In fact my mom helped plan the wedding.”

The only thing missing from the ceremony was the bride’s skates, which were sacrificed so that she could wear a traditional wedding gown. But the groom and his groomsmen all laced up the skates, and the father of the bride skated his daughter down the aisle to center ice where they were greeted by Pastor Chip Belanga, who also grew up playing hockey.

Instead of lighting a traditional unity candle to signify their new lives together, the couple performed a unity puck drop at center ice as the scoreboard at the end of the rink signified the special day: 9–5–2015.

And the guest registry was an oversized coaching board that the guests signed with indelible markers.

“My mom didn’t forget a single detail,” Ally said.

At the conclusion of the ceremony the couple took several victory laps around the parking lot on a Zamboni driven by Ron Wilson, the association’s long-time co-director.

“It was an all-hockey-related affair that joined together two great hockey families,” Wilson said afterward.

As the couple starts their new life together, Ally hopes that one day they can join a co-ed league as husband and wife. In the meantime, they remain united in their love for each other and the game as they look forward to skating together in the family’s traditional Thanksgiving Day pickup hockey game.

“It’s been two months and I still have people coming up to me and saying ‘I can’t believe you got married on an ice rink,’” Ally said. “They say, ‘I’ve been to a lot of weddings but that was the coolest one I’ve ever been to.’”


Photos courtesy of Libby Schiau Photography


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