Reprinted with permission from the Waconia Patriot
By Al Lohman
This winter marks the first year Waconia will have an official outdoor ice facility. It’s a feature of the new outdoor sports complex that was put in place this summer between the high school and middle school.
The Waconia Hockey Association worked through School District 110 to get a site established for the boards, glass, benches, penalty box and scorer’s table that the association purchased to outfit an outdoor hockey rink. The boards are from Proctor Hockey Arena in Duluth, which has a brand-new indoor sports complex. The boards and accessories were purchased through Becker Arena Products, a firm out of Shakopee that does ice rink construction and acts as a consignment service for arena supplies.
WHA volunteers erected the boards over a couple weekends in October, according to association president Nikki Siddons. The glass went up last week. Volunteers also will take responsibility for rink flooding and maintenance.
An outdoor ice rink will help provide additional ice times for the WHA hockey program, she said. The program now has more than 280 skaters, with participation growing at a rate of 5-10 percent a year.
Siddons calls the outdoor rink arrangement “a great community partnership with the school district and city of Waconia,” and notes that there will be opportunities for community use as well. She said youth hockey participants have been encouraged to bring their friends to introduce them to the sport of hockey, and that young skaters are excited for the first outdoor ice.
There could also be outdoor tournaments and special events, including a possible rink opening party. The intent to be flexible this first outdoor ice season as the facility gets established, according to Siddons.
The WHA is working with the city on permits to get a temporary warming house put in place for this season – maybe something like an outdoor construction trailer. Longer term, the association is working with a local Boy Scout, who has taken it upon himself to build a permanent warming house as an Eagle Scout project.