By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider and city and community leaders gathered Tuesday to celebrate the re-opening of a newly converted indoor ice rink in West Philadelphia.

Snider, Mayor Michael Nutter, and National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman gathered at the new Laura Simms Skate House at 63rd and Walnut with dozens of young skaters and their families who participate in the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation League.

Snider, who contributed $6.5 million to the conversion of five outdoor rinks to indoor facilities as part of a public-private partnership with the city and state, was impressed with the results in West Philadelphia.

“It’s done first class and it’s going to be open for these kids 365 days a year. You know when we had the old rinks, they were open air and we could only run them from November through March. Now these kids have a place to come every single day and we’re thrilled about that.”

Jennifer Martinez has two children, 14-year-old Eric, and 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine, who came to be exposed to hockey through Snider’s program.

“This is amazing. It gives kids like mine who wouldn’t normally have the chance to play hockey a chance to play hockey for teams and it keeps them busy and off of the streets.”

Snyder says the Scanlan Ice Rink in the Kensington section of the city and the Simmons Rink in West Oak Lane also be converted into indoor facilities and due to re-open soon. Two others will reopen next April.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio 1060