First Skate To Hockeyville, 52 Years Of Life In Arena

December 17, 2019

Mike Orsino has been hanging around the Clinton Arena for a long time. 

 

In 1967 or 1968, he joined on as a Rink Rat before being added to the payroll in 1971. Orsino's legacy as a dedicated, hard-working, and wonderful person began. 

 

In that time, Orsino helped organize concerts, circuses, hockey games, wrestling shows, and the list goes on and on. For a full history of the Arena over the last 52 years, ask Mike Orsino. If it happened at the Clinton Arena he'll know about it.

 

"I came down to the Arena one day to see a friend of mine," Orsino said. "And the rest is history. I took to the skating thing. I met my wife here. I'd say things have gone pretty well."

 

Well enough that while he retires from the Town of Kirkland next week as the Parks and Rec director, Orsino leaves with some sadness that he will no longer spend his days at the historic ice rink.

 

Orsino met the friend while working on a neighbor's farm. Eventually, they made their way to the Arena Orsino would soon make his second home. 

 

"I started out skating here and one day they needed help with a big session of skaters," Orsino said. "So I offered to help. They let me shower here, and from then on this place kind of became my sanctuary."

 

Orsino's interest in skating fed into his bigger passion of hockey. He's a former player who describes himself as a hockey purist. When checks were checks and the penalty box was just for show.

 

"I started playing youth hockey," Orsino said. "I joined an industrial league. It was a bunch of local guys. When I graduated they took me on as the night manager and I did that for 18 years."

 

It was a seven day a week job, according to Orsino. It was during those years he was a part of the crews for tons of major events. 

"They kept us busy with the Clinton Comets," Orsino said. "Back in the day, there was no …

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