Winter creeps slowly across the land, chilling the many lakes and ponds and fashioning a crystalline landscape of snow and ice. Minnesotans respond by digging out their sleds and skates from storage and enjoying Mother Nature’s gifts. It’s time to grab your skates and go. But first, check out many of the best center-city rinks and lakes at Best Ice Skating Spots In The Twin Cities. Find the four finest suburban rinks in the metro area plus one in Duluth at Best Places To Go Ice Skating In Minnesota. The 160-member Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association provides a comprehensive list of Midwest-area rinks here. The following are the best of the best venues for ice skating in Minnesota.
Best Outdoors Rink
Centennial Lakes Park
7499 France Ave. S.
Edina, MN 55435
Centennial Lakes staff takes care to provide the best 10 acres of ice in Minnesota. Visitors can rent figure and hockey skates for children and adults. Norwegian ice sleds are available for added fun. You will hate to quit but three warm fireplaces await you with steaming hot chocolate from the concession stand.
Best Backyard Rink
Tim Stefansky put at least 100 hours into building his backyard rink last year and came up a winner for the fourth year in a row. The rink features nets, flags and even coffee holders next to the rink, according to Stefansky. He even built his own ice resurfacer that trickles water onto a towel to make the ice even as he treats it.
Rink Producing the Most NHL Players
Minnesota likely leads the nation with more than 200 skaters going on to play in the National Hockey League. Roseau boasts 10 players having played in the NHL at least once. Roseau, a town of 2,633 the last time they counted, has three indoor rinks. They are the Memorial Arena (city owned), the North Rink (Roseau Youth Hockey Association owned) and the Rams Sports Center (school owned). This small city claims 33 state tournament teams winning seven state championships (all in the State’s upper division AA or when there was only one class for hockey). The three Broten brothers, Neal, Aaron and Paul, account for three of the 10 stars to come from Roseau. Current Winnipeg Jets Defenseman and former member of the Stanley Cup Champions, Chicago Blackhawks, Dustin Byfuglien grew up in Roseau. Others include Mike Baumgartner (Kansas City Scouts), Earl Anderson (Boston Bruins/Detroit Red Wings), Dale Smedsmo (Toronto Maple Leafs), Bryan “Butsy” Erickson (Washington Capitals/Pittsburgh Penguins/Los Angeles Kings/Winnipeg Jets), Josh Olson (Florida Panthers) and Aaron Ness (New York Islanders).
Rink Producing the Most Figure Skating Champions
848 Pleasant Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102
The St. Paul Figure Skating Club can claim to have the most recent national medalist with its own Eliot Halverson winning the men’s junior champion 2006-2007. For many years, St. Paul FSC also produced more state competition medalists among the 20 figure skating clubs in Minnesota. Jill Trenary, Minnetonka, was national champion three times in 1987, 1989 and 1990 although she trained in Colorado Springs since the age of 16.
World’s Largest Ice Arena
Schwan Super Rink
1700 105th Ave. N.E.
Blaine, MN 55449
Eight sheets of ice under one roof covering 300,000 square feet is the reason this Blaine facility can claim to be the largest in the world. The Schwan Super Rink features a pro shop, 32 oversized locker rooms and extensive dry land training facilities for hockey and figure skating. Best of all, spectators can relax in the heated Hat Trick Café overlooking four of the sheets.
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Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.