abc
QUICK LINKS:

Ice Issue Heating Up for Minnesota Hockey Arenas

Updated: 02/25/2014 10:19 PM
Created: 02/25/2014 9:10 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Hockey associations in Minnesota are facing off with an interesting issue: making ice a local arenas. The chemical currently used at many arenas is harmful to the ozone layer so federal law is prompting expensive changes for small town rinks.

R-22 Freon runs beneath the Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet to keep players skating on ice, but imports of the chemical will be stopped by federal law in 2020. Finding a new way to freeze the rink could be too expensive for arenas like the one in Cloquet.

“The ranges on the options ranged from about $1.2 million all the way up to $1.8 million,” Rink Manager Justin Harriman said.

Harriman said that would be the cost to switch from R-22 to another refrigerant like carbon dioxide or an ammonia based system. He said the current system is pumping fine, but a leak could be an expensive disaster as R-22 phases out.

Not every arena would be facing such a steep price tag. Costs could range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the change will be widespread. Arenas like Mars-Lakeview, the Heritage Sports Center and over 100 others will be impacted. Harriman said small towns and hockey associations might not have money to convert.

“If you had that many rinks go down I think you'd have some crying going on because you could shut down a lot of places if it wasn't available,” Harriman said.

Arena managers and lawmakers are taking a slap shot at $15 million of state bonding money. Loans or grants would help keep these rinks open and holding tournaments that boost local economies.

“We've got the luxury of a couple good hotels, AmericInn especially, that have done a great job of supporting us giving these teams a really good deal on staying in town,” Harriman said.

He said the sport has an impact on players too.

“Hockey like most sports has life lessons. There's working with teams and being with your friends. There's something special about hockey,” Harriman said.

Keeping those skaters on ice will take support from the State of Hockey.

The Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association is holding meetings next month on the issue with state lawmakers. One is scheduled in the Northland at the Miners Memorial Building in Virginia on March 13.

Front Page

  • Minn. DNR Increases Target Wolf Harvest

    The Minnesota DNR is increasing the target harvest for this fall's wolf hunt from 250 to 280. The DNR says the latest population survey estimates that there were 2,423 wolves living in Minnesota this past winter, which is 212 more animals than estimated the previous winter.

  • Update: Teen Killed in Douglas Co. Crash

    The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says a Lake Nebagamon teenager was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Wednesday afternoon.  15-year-old Seth N. Stariah, a passenger in one of the vehicles, was pronounced dead at the scene.

  • Workers at the NOvA hall in Ash River assemble the final block of the far detector in early February 2014, with the nearly completed detector in the background. U of M Reaches Milestone with Ash River Neutrino Detector

    The University of Minnesota is celebrating a milestone in creating an experimental particle detector that it says could eventually yield important information about the beginning of the universe.

  • Missing Employee Found at Soudan Underground Mine State Park

    Authorities have located 76-year-old Adrienne De Vries at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. De Vries is an employee of the park, and lost her way when walking down a trail. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department says she was transported to Ely Hospital to get checked as a precautionary.

  • Sky High: Northlanders Blast Off on New Flyboard

    Here in the Northland, we're used to lakes, but a new toy is changing how we enjoy the water. The flyboard is making its Twin Ports debut. It's a water jet pack on a board that is hooked up to a jet ski. The water launches you up to 55 feet in the air.

 
Advertisement