Outdoor ice rink planned for GJ

A former roller hockey rink behind 330 North Ave. is to be turned into an outdoor ice rink this winter by Ice Skating Inc., a nonprofit group that organizes Grand Valley Youth Hockey. “There’s a lot of interest in hockey in the Grand Valley. We couldn’t let it die down,” said Curt Maki, executive director of Ice Skaing Inc.

A local ice hockey group plans to open an outdoor ice rink Nov. 1 in an alley behind North Avenue.

The rink would be used for practices for the four age groups involved in Grand Valley Youth Hockey, plus the Colorado Mesa University men’s hockey team, skating classes and local adult ice hockey leagues.

Curt Maki, executive director of Ice Skating Inc., the nonprofit group that organizes Grand Valley Youth Hockey, said his group decided to open a new ice rink after the closure of Glacier Ice Arena at 2515 Riverside Parkway last year.

He said he expects Glacier to reopen someday, but in the meantime, it had become a pain to practice in Craig, Gunnison, Glenwood Springs and Aspen and then travel to games in those cities and others.

“We wanted a place in town to practice,” Maki said. “There’s a lot of interest in hockey in the Grand Valley. We couldn’t let it die down.”

Maki said the city of Grand Junction has been supportive of an application for a temporary-use permit for the rink, allowing the rink to operate four months a year.

Maki said he plans to start making ice in October, open the rink in November and close it in late February or early March.

Cody Cooper, a member of Colorado Mesa’s men’s hockey team, said interest in the team waned as it struggled to find a practice space after Glacier Ice Arena closed.

“It pretty much killed the team,” Cooper said. “We hope this revives the club.”

The ice rink will be placed over a cement roller hockey rink surrounded by a chain link fence behind 330 North Avenue. The venue played host to roller hockey games when hockey equipment store Hockey Stop operated next door at 304 North Ave.

The rink is owned by Linda Manchester and rented to Ice Skating Inc.

Ice Skating Inc. purchased a “rink in a box” two months ago to make the roller rink suitable for ice hockey.

Maki said the group used past fundraising dollars to buy a rink package for $102,000 from a now-defunct rink in St. George, Utah.

The package includes a Zamboni, boards, glass, a generator, a refrigeration system and a scoreboard.

Still needed are a lighting and power upgrade and netting to keep pucks from escaping the open-air rink.

Donations can be made to Ice Skating Inc., P.O. Box 3654, Grand Junction 81502.


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