An Illini love story, UI Ice Arena edition ...
“Outside of Gregory Hall, where I took my journalism classes and had an office, the place I spent the most time on campus was the UI Ice Arena,” says Heidi Opdyke, who earned her master’s in 2004 and now works as a senior writer/editor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
“Once my graduate advisor, Louis Liebovich, would set my official schedule, I would get back into the system and add extra classes like Italian, concert band and introduction to ice skating, which I took twice.
“I loved the idea of sharing the same ice that Olympians like Bonnie Blair and Matthew Savoie, who practiced during some of the same lunchtime skates when I also was gliding.
“I always loved the sensation of skating. It was the closest I ever felt to flying. But growing up in rural Kansas, the nearest rink was 90 minutes away so I was lucky to skate once a year. The thought of being able to walk to a rink one was one of the reasons Illinois was so appealing.
“Being a top journalism program didn’t hurt, either.
“The Ice Arena also was the place where I met my husband, Dr. Matthew Opdyke, during a graduate student event. He was working on his doctorate in environmental science in ACES at the time. We continued to skate and attended club hockey games there, including one on our first Valentine’s Day.
“Since then, we’ve skated on many other ponds and now take our sons — Ben and Nathan — so they, too, can fly.”