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Crossmyloof Ice Rink

Opened 1907
Closed 1986

Memories of Crossmyloof Ice Rink, Glasgow.
by Kenny McKie.

It wasn’t much, but it was home.

I first laced on a pair of skates at the old Crossmyloof Ice Rink in Glasgow.
Nothing exceptional in that you might think, unless you had been there.

It was a dump.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the place and still have many fond memories of playing there, but I won’t beat about the bush, it was a dump.

Early Years

Early morning games had to be played around the Zamboni at the top corner of the rink. This was because there was no garage outside to park it in.
I’ll save the blushes of the player who on more than one occasion skated towards it at full tilt with his head down.
Well, you can imagine the rest!

The building also had two Curling rinks, which were pristine. However the skating and hockey rink had all the charm and décor of a Beirut Post Office.
It really did resemble a bomb site with an ice pad stuck in the middle.

As such, as young players we dreamt of playing in a proper arena, with glass and electric scoreboards etc. The type of facility that thankfully is commonplace these days. In fact so keen were we, many of us spent the summer months helping to paint the exterior just to please the owner, so that we would have ice to play on the following year. We were just kids. It creates a Dickensian image does it not? Thank God there were no chimneys, or I daresay he would have had us scuttling up them with a sweep in our hands.

Moving on

It’s now a supermarket and despite not being particularly close to where we live, my wife and I sometimes shop there.
Although Claire must be bored rigid with me pointing out to the spot just in front of the Delicatessen counter where I scored my first ever goal against Dundee’s Peewee team at the age of eleven.

The tireless work put in by the late Sam Stevenson meant that we always had teams to progress to. Almost to a man, as junior players, we moved from the Pee-Wee Mustangs through the Junior Redwings and finally the Dynamos at senior level. It was the natural progression, and something all of us looked forward to with relish. Our heroes were John Hester and Martin Shields, and to later play on the same team as them, was to realise a childhood dream.

Although the hockey club produced an almost limitless pool of talent from the late seventies through to the rink’s demise and the clubs subsequent move to the ill-fated Summit Centre in the mid-eighties, unfortunately, many players left the club and moved away to other clubs to play.
In fact, when you think of the players who left, what a team we could have had. Almost a full team left over the space of a few years.
Perhaps for some of our ‘more mature’ readers, these names will re-kindle some memories.

John Tague, Gerry Anderson, Ian Appleby, John Matassa.
Paul Heavey, Bobby McEwan, Ali Rodgers.
Kenny Redmond, Tony Redmond, Kenny McKie, Gary Smith, Colin Wilson, Kevin King, Gary McEwan, Gary Shearer.
To name just a few.

Size isn’t everything, however…

As I mentioned earlier, the rink was far from perfect.
The size of the ice pad, 237’ by 100’ meant that it took the Zamboni too long to clean the ice between periods. It didn’t get done.
We took on an old timers team from Canada once, and as they entered the rink, a fellow by the name of Moe Mantha took one look at the length of the rink and drawled;
“Jeez, I’m gonna need a motorcycle to get to the far end.”

The locker rooms were up on the balcony, and the only way down to the ice was via an unlit stairway. An unlit concrete stairway!!
There were about 8 rubber mats randomly placed on the stairs and while we knew where they were, I’m not so sure our opponents did. Sparks literally flew before the game had even started. Oh and by the way, that was after you had squeezed by the couple winchin’ on the stairs!

Christmas in Crossmyloof
One Christmas, and you have to believe me, this story really is true, we had to play around a huge Christmas tree at centre ice!

A real Christmas tree, pine needles and all.
The hoist that was supposed to raise the tree wasn’t working, and the only way we could get a game, was to play around it.
I kid you not, the same guy who tried to lay out the Zamboni, nearly brought down a 15 foot Christmas tree.

Whenever former Glasgow players meet, you can guarantee that the stories about the old rink flow.
In fact if you ever come across someone who played there, ask him about it, then sit back and be prepared to spend some time listening to tales that will have you wide eyed with amazement.
It really was that kind of place.
Like I said, it wasn’t much, but it was home.

14 replies added

  1. Elizabeth Colquhoun March 31, 2020 Reply

    Just chatting tonight with my husband and Crossmyloof came into the conversation; don’t know why, maybe Covid19 gives us time to remember!! He’s from Paisley and went there after the their ice-rink closed. I was from Dennistoun and could get the no 6 (I think) all the way. Many enjoyable Saturday mornings! On a less memorable moment – my friend and I used to save our pocket money by leaving jackets on seats rather than cloakroom. Bad move! Came back and our jackets gone; fortunately, after a search, found our shoes didn’t have to travel home barefoot! Mum not pleased about losing the posh anorak I’d got for my Christmas. Never mind, didn’t stop us going back for more fun at Crossmyloof!

  2. Margaret Sharp September 26, 2020 Reply

    What about Grossmyloof Speed Skating Club. No one mentions it My husband skated for them late 40’s and early 50’s. He held the Scottish record for the mile indoors and skated for Scotland. They had a good team and won various cups.

    • Nicholas Orr March 31, 2021 Reply

      Hello. Did he ever come across my late father – Alastair Orr? Had a moustache! Not sure when he was in the speed team.

  3. Michelle November 26, 2021 Reply

    I remember taking the train from Kennishead to the tiny train station next to the Crossmaloof rink. I was still in primary school, and looked forward all week to going on a Saturday morning. I rented skates, till my Mum bought me white leather second hand skates from a school pal. Thought I was Torvel and Dean doing turns and spins. If a boy liked you, he would do a hockey stop, and spray you with ice. One boy wanted to meet me upstairs, obviously for a snog. I went upstairs, then chickened out. Fond memories of the place. Sad to read it closed in 1985. I believe I went there 1979 till about 1981 then we moved, and I discovered boys, and going into town on Saturdays to look around shops – remember What Every Woman Wants shop ?!
    I now live in the US, since 1991, and look back fondly at my childhood in Glasgow.

  4. Mark Mccullion February 5, 2022 Reply

    I lived in govan in the 70’s our school,”St Geralds sec school “ now closed. Decided to change things and introduced ice skating to the boys. Because you had to pay 50p towards the transport cost not many took up the offer. I did this introduced me to crossmyloof and many years of fun,minor injuries and a great sport. I shed a tear the day they pull it down .

  5. Ailie Duncan March 14, 2022 Reply

    Early 1960’s
    I was brought up in East Kilbride. Every Saturday morning we would walk as a group to East Kilbride station to catch the train. Remember getting off at Crossmylook station and rushing up the stairs to join the queue to get into the Ice Rink. The hire of boots was 6d and they were a yucky brown colour. Round and round we would go on the ice, trying to avoid the speed skaters. Many happy times there. Years later I found out the rink had been used as a mortuary during WWII to accommodate the large number of fatalities following the Clydebank Blitz.

  6. Maureen Kane (Kanie) January 12, 2023 Reply

    Went twice a week during the 1950s and joined the Sunday club. Loved it although it was the pits!!

    Sometimes ran trips to other ice rinks, Edinburgh, Dundee Falkirk and Ayr.

  7. Anne January 28, 2023 Reply

    Went skating every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and watched the hockey on a Sunday night. Fond memories of Nancy, Margaret and Lynda. There was a piece of concrete on the ice just outside the cafe that had to be avoided. Most of my friends came from Govanhill. The last night before the ice rink closed for the summer was wonderful! Everyone was completely soaked! Great memories, great friends.

  8. Linda spalding Bates March 1, 2023 Reply

    I was a member of the ice skating club from 1963 to 1976 I loved going to the ice rink and entered many competitions I even presented jean scott the ice queen at Ayr ice rink I had a few teachers as when they left I had to move on my first teacher was janice low who went to Canada and my last teacher was Norma Wilson I used to go stay with her for a week when there was a competition so I could be in the rink early till late

  9. Rizwan Minhas March 9, 2023 Reply

    Spend many weekends walking there from Pollokshields to skate. Saturday mornings were popular….. The skates were terrible, (wrecked your feet!) and the music was inaudible. But it was all we had, and we loved it.
    Thank you for sharing the old pictures – brought back some wonderful memories of simpler times!

  10. Jim February 28, 2024 Reply

    Went to Crossmyloof age 8-13 in the 60’s/early 70’s & had a great time with pals Alan Gow & Avril Murray but it was always freezing & a bit manky!
    Memory is fading but think my first teacher was Ann Lowe (?), then Willie (?) who stopped teaching, then Miss Brown but I remember Norma Wilson who was lovely..all great folk & teachers!
    I seem to remember the Zamboni driver was also the DJ up in the booth above the main rink?
    I was very sad when it burned down as I had some great memories of the place…never put a pair of skates on since!

  11. George Mitchell April 5, 2024 Reply

    Work in crossmyloof ice rink loved it meet my first love wendy

  12. Linds Robertson April 16, 2024 Reply

    My first boyfriend was Martin Shields, he used to hold my hand and skate round crossmyloof ice rink at a great speed, many happy memories…

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