Ice rink to give Grand Valley hockey players practice spot
The Grand Valley Youth Hockey Association had to do something.
After spending a year on the road without home ice because of the closure of Glacier Ice Arena, local hockey players will at least have a practice rink this winter.
Ice Skating Inc., and Grand Valley Youth Hockey have acquired a portable refrigeration system that will be installed at the old Hockey Stop facility at Third Street and North Avenue.
“We didn’t know what’s going on with (Glacier),” said Kurt Maki, the director of operations of Ice Skating Inc. “We had to do something now or face the possibility of losing all of our programs.”
The outdoor ice will be used as practice ice and set up at dimensions of 150 feet long and 62 feet wide.
The rink is short of a regulation hockey rink, which is 200 feet by 85 feet.
The Hockey Stop has closed, but the groups are leasing the facility. Initially, the ice time will be used for hockey practice and learn-to-skate programs.
“We are doing this trying to alleviate all the time on the road we had last year,” Maki said. “We couldn’t do that this year, so this way all of our teams will be able to get on ice around three times a week.”
The refrigeration system was used by a group in St. George, Utah, for two months during the winter. Once in Grand Junction, the outdoor ice will be available from Nov. 1 to March 1.
“We need to plug the system in and freeze the water in the rink,” Maki said. “We are working with the city to get a temporary usage permit.”
The location couldn’t have worked out better for Ice Skating, Inc. A rink is already built at the Hockey Stop, and has an outdoor lighting system.
“We like the location because we aren’t spending as much money for infrastructure,” Maki said. “It was built really level and there is a lighting system, so not having to do that stuff really helps.”
Grand Valley Youth Hockey was down to four teams last season, and all of the teams played every game on the road, practicing whenever they could get ice time before games.
Maki said the hockey league will have those four teams again this season, and is hoping the practice ice can allow the midget and girls group to return.
The groups will have an informational meeting about the new practice facility in the next few weeks.
“Having this open for four months will make it a lot easier for kids to practice,” Maki said. “We hope to get all six teams into the fold.”