They fondly recall the friendliness of the Club’s Friday night dinners, a club tradition that began in 1938 when the original Clubhouse was built in Boston.
“Among our positive impressions of the Club were the relationships we formed with other skaters, parents and coaches,” John says, “and what really impressed us was how the dinners contributed to that community feeling. People had a chance to get to know one another.”
That sense of community will now carry on with renewed vitality, thanks in large part to the couple’s appreciative gift to the new Norwood facility. On behalf of the Frieling family, they are naming the Club’s new lounge.
“We want to continue to provide a conduit for families to naturally spend time together and strengthen their own family unit, while at the same time foster a spirit of community and positive interactions with others so the Club can continue to be a destination where good memories and lifelong friendships are created,” says Susan.
Susan and John have long shown their enthusiastic support for the Club, staying engaged well after their son and daughter moved on to college.
Susan volunteered to co-lead a three-year project that properly archived the Club’s extensive records, trophies and medals which will serve as the foundation for the new trophy and memorabilia room in the new facility.
“It was an honor to work with the late Ben Wright in helping to organize and catalog the Club’s memorabilia and I was so appreciative of the opportunity to learn so much about the Club’s history directly from one of the icons of the sport and the Club,” says Susan.
John served on the Club’s Board of Directors for about a decade before he joined the Building committee, where his financial acumen has been invaluable in the planning for the new facility. He continues now to serve on both the Club’s Building and Finance committees, and works closely with the Club’s leadership, banks, architects and contractors on planning, design, construction, and financing.
It’s important, he said, to remember that the new facility comes after years of perseverance and strength of vision.
“When it was clear that the current Norwood site was the direction the Board was going, I spent a lot of time updating the financial forecast with management to convince ourselves, the Club’s leadership and potential lending institutions that building the new facility was within the means of the Club and very doable,” said John.
He’s also now on-site in Norwood weekly, and says, “You can you look at a blueprint, but the first time you see the actual facility under construction, it becomes clear that when this is finished it will be the finest facility of its kind in the country.”
Further, John says “now that the completion is in its final stages, I take tremendous pride, as should countless others, in being part of the team that will have helped implement a vision from 20 years ago that will clearly be a best-in-class facility.”
The couple is delighted to be able to contribute to that reputation by funding the Club Lounge.
When asked what motivates the couple to stay involved, Susan and John reply that “we hope the Club will continue to be more than a skating venue and for the Club Lounge to become the central gathering place where future families and skaters alike for generations can socialize, watch skating, catch up on activities and support their growth as individuals and families. We look forward to seeing the Club Lounge continue to foster the goodwill and community that have made the Skating Club of Boston such a special place.”