Westborough – For the past 30 years, pucks and pirouettes have filled Westborough's NorthStar Youth Forum. This nonprofit has helped groom tomorrow's stars while also providing services and activities for skaters of all ages.
The Northborough Youth Hockey Program was officially deemed a nonprofit organization in 1970 and in 1976, the Northborough Youth Hockey program bought the Westborough Ice Arena on Bridal Lane, transforming it into the NorthStar Youth Forum. General Manager Craig Boutilier credited the board of directors with the sustained success of the facility.
“We have a really good board,” Boutilier said. “Their personalities are diverse; they'se smart and fiscally responsible.”
Board member and Executive Director Denise Marco agreed.
“We offer a really good product and have a longstanding following,” she said.
The mission of the NorthStar Youth Forum is evident at the twin-rink complex. In part, as the group's statement says, it aims “to promote the sports of hockey, figure skating, and other related sports” and “encourage friendly relations with other communities which are interested in similar sports.”
Boutilier was raised in Northborough and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1981. Soon after graduation, he began coaching, becoming the head coach at Algonquin Regional High School for eight years before becoming an assistant coach at Framingham State College. He still runs hockey camps yearround and also coaches privately during the off-season. Involved at NorthStar for nearly 30 years, Boutilier has participated at the complex as a player, coach, employee, and now, as the general manager.
Boutilier loves being able to stay around hockey at the facility.
“Hockey people are good people,” he said. “We'se got good kids. The parents want to come in. And I have friends that I'se met at this place.”
NorthStar Figure Skating Club Director Denise Marco hails from Worcester. After graduating from Anna Maria College in 1984, she became the skating director for the Central Mass Skating School (CMSS) before helping to create the NorthStar Figure Skating Club in 1987.
“I'se been around here since I was seven,” she said, “and I'se always wanted to teach figure skating.”
In addition to directing the CMSS Annual Skating Show, she still instructs people of all ages and abilities.
“I love working with young children and having them attain their goals,” she said.
The NorthStar Youth Forum has its own goals too. The owners are hoping to begin construction on “Rink C” soon.
“We'se grown to a point and expanded some of our programs and everyone wants more,” Boutilier said.
With classes, programs and competitions for skaters and shooters of all ages, the NorthStar Youth Forum has created a haven for those who love the ice.