MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) In what would normally be the busiest time of year, Minnesota’s ice rinks have found their doors closed. That’s due to the latest round of state-wide shutdowns to curb COVID-19.
Fogerty Arena in Blaine, which is the home ice for Blaine and Spring Lake Park’s hockey teams and curling leagues, put out a call for help in a “Save Fogerty” campaign video asking for donations to keep the arena afloat while it’s shut down during a traditional time to hit the ice.
Since the video was posted to their Facebook page the Tuesday before Christmas, they’ve already raised $65,000.
John Benton is the director of curling at Fogerty Arena,
“It’s really heartwarming to know that people are coming out when we need them,” Benton said. “This would be our busiest time for sure. Youth and high school hockey would be going gangbusters right now, and curling as well. Leagues would going five nights a week.”
The money they’re trying to fundraise would simply let them keep the heat on so the pipes don’t freeze, while their doors stay shut.
“We’re about a third down on our budget, so this money is really meant to just be a bridge to help us get through this current shutdown, get to our next PPP loan,” Benton said.
It’s a completely different story across the river. At Hudson Sports & Civic Center, they’re having a record year in ice rental sales.
Matt Szypura is head coach of the Hudson High School girls varsity team.
“It’s not as easy to get ice anymore, that’s for sure,” Szypura said.
He says they’re seeing an influx of Minnesota hockey players coming over to Wisconsin to rent out ice time in their arenas.
A rep with the arena says parents and kids are filling the rink for free skate or private coaching, but no full Minnesota teams are coming to their arenas to practices. The rep says this has led to a huge profit for Hudson sports and civic center.
“We’re still a nonprofit, so I know we’re going to put that money to, you know, reinvest it back into the rink as it is, and the team and the kids and everything, too, so that’s always good to see,” Szypura said.
The Hudson players and staff are happy to welcome the out of state skaters.
“Hockey’s hockey, and you know, it’s the same on each side of the river for us,” Szypura said.
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