The Big Chill is the brainchild of Paul Bates, president of Polarsports, LLC. Paul was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and learned to play hockey at a young age. Paul immigrated to the United States when he was in his early twenties, and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for much of his adult life. He spent many years coaching youth hockey in the Tri-Valley, has owned and operated a roller hockey sports arena in Lathrop, California, and has developed and designed ice rinks in Redwood City and in Dublin, California. He is still an active hockey player, enjoys snow skiing and golf, has two adult children, and loves being an adopted grandpa to Laura's two grandchildren.
Laura Montalvo, Vice President of Marketing and Operations for Polarsports, LLC, grew up in Santa Rosa, California, and has lived in the San Francisco East Bay Area since 1990. Laura handles the social media marketing, website design and maintenance, staff scheduling, private party reservations and fundraisers at the Big Chill. Laura has two grown children and two grandchildren and also works as a legal assistant for a law firm in Oakland. Laura and Paul enjoy San Francisco Giants baseball, Sharks hockey, snow-skiing, trips to Las Vegas for hockey tournaments, and spending time with family and friends.
The Big Chill first opened its doors in November of 2017 at The Streets of Brentwood retail shopping center in Brentwood, California. Attendance exceeded over 230,000 visitors with a paid attendance of 32,960. Brentwood and its surrounding communities brought their friends and families to our event multiple times. In 2018, we opened again at The Streets of Brentwood with a re-designed facility to be more weather resilient and we received an even larger paid attendance of 38,609. After two seasons, the Big Chill became well-known throughout Contra Costa County and the Bay Area. The San Jose Mercury News listed our event as No. 1 on its list of holiday ice rinks for the 2018-2019 Season. As a result of new mall ownership at The Streets of Brentwood and plans to construct apartment homes in our rink location, our license agreement was not renewed. We were then asked by the City of Pittsburg to install a holiday ice rink at the new John Buckley Square in Old Town Pittsburg and we couldn't be more excited!