BY MARIKO ROLLINS- DIRECTOR, THE ICE SHEET AT THE WEBER COUNTY SPORTS COMPLEX
Weber County Sports Complex Director, Mariko Rollins, had wanted to grow up to be an Urban Planner and Community Designer. What she had never anticipated is that she would end up building a community of sorts: one within an ice arena in Weber County that has had international reach. Her goals shifted as she began college at Weber State University and coaching at The Ice Sheet — site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and Curling Events.
“The Ice Sheet quickly became part of my college experience at Weber State University and helped give me a sense of community. I had always relied on the culture of ice arenas to help me get through tough times and inspire me as a skater. What I didn’t realize back then was that this facility is about so much more than practices and games; this is where figure skaters, hockey players, curlers, coaches, and fans come to take part in building a thriving community,” stated Rollins.
The dynamic program growth the rink has experienced in recent years is due, in part, to her background in ice dance — a discipline of figure skating — and her passion for coaching power skating — a training aspect of competitive ice hockey.
Rollins reflected, “Coaching taught me the leadership qualities I needed to improve my everyday experiences and shape my life.”
Mariko’s desire to replicate leadership building by implementing targeted initiatives within all levels of Weber County Youth Hockey is what fuels the program and provides leadership opportunities to players.
Rollins further commented that “Unshakable leadership is built on the backs of conflict resolution, struggle, and working together to produce an outcome that team members have bought into through organic core culture attributes. Too many people think that leadership is an abstract quality that only others possess, when, in reality, leaders are built throughout our community every day as they work together to overcome hardship and problem solve.”
“I have a responsibility to this community to teach athletes the tools to become leaders. That’s what our core values at the Weber County Sports Complex are all about, from part time employees on up. We work together to produce the very best outcome possible for these athletes. Whether it’s figure skaters, hockey players, or curlers, each staff member plays a part in their development, and that’s what makes this facility so special,” stated Rollins.
An aspect of building on the legacy of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and curling events is to continue to prepare bids for future Olympic games and provide a safe and inspiring training environment for all athletes that includes encouraging every athlete to work hard and dream big.
“Several athletes from both figure skating and hockey have gone on to national and international competitions and teams as a result of working hard and dreaming big.”
Maintaining a balance of grassroots initiatives while having an impact of national-bound athletes, Rollins hopes to continue growing sustainable community programs within Weber County and the State of Utah.