Closure of Atlantis Skateway roller rink in Greenacres

GREENACRES – The Atlantis Skateway roller rink on Jog Road has endured the zeitgeist of generations, from the Bee Gees and bell bottoms to Zumba-style flannel grunge to roller-skating villains in the ‘Despicable’ series. Me”.

How many girls have smoothed themselves in his mirrors? How many boys pumped quarters into his arcade games feigning indifference when the lights went out and a couple’s skateboard was called?

Since 1975, the building at 3100 Jog Road has been an integral part of the community.

But that ends on Saturday.

A California-based limited liability company linked to a Ukrainian couple paid $3.6 million for the rink in June, buying it from the Carnell family. Atlantis will hold its last skate “meeting” on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“I think I lost 20 pounds of water weight this month in tears,” said Britni Murphy, whose grandfather built the Atlantis Skateway, which she now runs. “I was an only child, but not really, because I grew up in the rink.”

Murphy said liability insurance was getting too expensive to run the business and keep rates reasonable for families. Pandemic shutdowns haven’t helped.

“We had a family meeting and sat down to weigh our options moving forward and made the tough decision,” said Murphy, who was born two years after the rink opened.

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Atlantis Ice Rink in Greenacres on Wednesday May 20, 2015.

The Lodnia Group LLC, run by Konstantin and Irina Lodnia, was registered in the Florida State Department’s archives in late May and signed a deed for the rink on June 17.

A man who answered the phone on Monday at a number listed for Irina Lodnia said there was no decision yet on what to do with the property. But the Lodnia family has a long history in the field of ice hockey.

A Ukrainian family has ice hockey in their blood

According to a 2019 article in The Ukrainian Weekly, Konstantin and Irina left Ukraine for the United States in 1996. He was a professional ice hockey player in Ukraine and started coaching and teaching lessons skating, according to the story. The family also owned KHS Ice Arena in Anaheim, Calif., though its current ownership was unclear as of Tuesday.

The couple’s son, Ivan Lodnia, was drafted in 2017 by the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League. In November, the Chicago Wolves announced that they had signed the 22-year-old to a standard player contract. The Wolves play in the American Hockey League, a minor league.

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Norman and Bonnie Carnell and their daughter, Britni Murphy, are shown at the Atlantis ice rink in Greenacres May 20, 2015. The rink will close on Saturday.

Murphy said his family hadn’t met the Lodnias, but heard they wanted to move from California to Florida. She doesn’t know what the plans are for the rink.

Morris Hankey, Murphy’s grandfather, opened Atlantis Skateway after building a series of roller rinks and bowling alleys along the East Coast. He chose Greenacres because he felt there were not enough activities in the area for children and teenagers.

“You’re going to see a lot of tears on Saturday,” said Bonnie Carnell, Hankey’s daughter and Murphy’s mother. “Anyone you’ve spoken to who’s been through here knows where Atlantis is. We’re in our fourth generation. It’s bittersweet.”

Trends come and go, but it was always about skating at Atlantis Skateway

A charm of the Atlantis Skateway is its feeling of being in a time capsule. Vintage video games line a wall. The skates are of the four-wheel type. Currency is cash only.

Murphy said they’ve tried different amusements over the years, including hockey, indoor football, Zumba classes and roller derby.

“No matter how times change,” she said. “But it all went back to skating and everyone was enjoying skating with the disco balls and the lights.”

The rink still does pair skating and Hokey Pokey and dancing and chicken racing.

Atlantis Ice Rink in Greenacres on Wednesday May 20, 2015. The ice rink will celebrate its 40th anniversary this weekend.  (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Angela Tanner, assistant executive director of the Indianapolis-based Roller Skating Rink Association, was surprised to learn of the closure of Atlantis Skateway. She said a spike in interest has spurred more rink openings nationwide, noting several current pop culture shows or social media sites that feature her.

The Disney Channel Original Series “Saturdays” is a coming-of-age story about a young girl and her competitive roller skating team. The “Despicable Me” franchise has a roller-skating villain named Svengeance. The hit series “Stranger Things” includes an unfortunate encounter at a skating rink in season four. And TikTok is overwhelmed with roller skating videos.

The new generation discovers skating

“Roller skating is about community, probably more than any other entertainment,” Tanner said. “We’re the leader in birthday parties, and now you have people in their 20s and 30s getting into it.”

Facebook posts mourn the loss of the Atlantis ice rink, which provided decades of “incredible memories”.

On Tuesday, the rink held its last adult skating night. Murphy said she didn’t pick the last song that will play Saturday night.

“I thought about it, for sure,” she said.