Construction of indoor hockey rink to start in 2022

By: 
Jill Meier, Journal editor
Todd Stone remembers the day in 2011 that he received a call from Chris Hood and Joe Baartman about putting a hockey rink together.
 
“I was on active duty in El Paso, Texas,” Stone said, “and that’s when the conversations started.”
 
A year later, Brandon Valley Hockey Association brought the idea to fruition in what is now the outdoor rink at McHardy Park. Two years later, the chatter to bring an indoor rink to the community surfaced.
 
And this year, the BVHA took a giant step forward in making the indoor rink a reality when Orthopedic Institute and Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital signed on as the naming rights sponsor.
 
“It was really just an idea in 2014, but I would say the Association was really ready to hit the ground running come March, end of season this last year and then COVID hit,” Stone said. “We had the naming rights sponsor ready to go, all this stuff ready to go and we had a lot of momentum with two state titles.”
 
Construction of the SuperRink likely won’t start until 2022, but Bryan Seaver, chairman of the campaign committee and past president, said it could start next year if funding is secured. Seaver said the BVHA is about one-third of the way toward their $3 million goal, which would cover phase one costs. Phase one essentially includes the building with “no bells or whistles,” he said.
 
“Probably no locker rooms or concessions stand,” he said. “Basically, we just want to be able to get inside and out of the elements because our biggest challenge is thawing and snow.”
 
A roof over the outdoor rink, Seaver said, would make a difference.
 
“If you have a sunny day, it’s maybe only 25-30 degrees out, you still have ice melt,” he said.
 
Stone said that fundraising will dictate the construction schedule.
 
“We’re going the hit the ground running really hard,” he said, adding that Orthopedic Institute is also helping the BVHA to raise funds. “They want to go out and say, ‘Hey, we’re part of this and we want you to be part of this.’”
 
The indoor rink building will be 190 feet by 80 feet, and there will be opportunity to add on to it. One of the first additions will be locker rooms, concessions and a training room for Orthopedic Insti-tute. The BVHA has also invited the local soccer, baseball, softball, tennis associations the opportuni-ty to invest funds for indoor facilities to benefit their specific programs. Brandon Area Soccer Asso-ciation has expressed the most interest thus far.
 
“That could come whenever they have the funds to do that,” Seaver said. “At that point, it’s whatev-er the community wants to do and people have the dollars to do.”
 
The BVHA has clearly faced obstacles, including last fall’s flood that literally had pieces of the ice rink complex floating downstream.
 
“We had sand-bagged for the spring flood, but that didn’t really happen,” he said. “Then we had to get the sandbags out of there and the second flood came and we had no time to prepare. We could’ve had the same crew down there, but it wouldn’t have mattered. It rose so fast and by the time we knew it was coming, it was to late.”
 
The group also had to replace the rink’s first chiller, which also went through flood waters.
 
“We thought it was completely toast, but luckily when they tried it out, it was less damage than they originally thought,” he said.
 
Fortunately, the BVHA only had to repair the chiller and not replace it.
 
The move to Aspen Park
 
In the next year or two, the BVHA will move their current outdoor rink to Aspen Park, which will ultimately double the amount of ice in one location.
 
“Right now, our grand vision is to have the indoor rink and our current outdoor rink beside it with a roof over it, but still keep that outside attraction because a lot of people love skating outside,” he said. “And like I said, if we got a roof over it, now it’s so much easier to maintain.” 
 
Last season, BVHA had about 100 kids involved in youth hockey. Seaver said that number has plat-eaued but said they expect that number to grow when the indoor rink is operable.”
 
Seaver said it’s important for the community to support the endeavor, not just with dollars, but with connections, too.
 
“There’s a lot of people out there that probably knows somebody or is a philanthropist that can be helpful. If you personally can’t give but you know somebody that owns a company that maybe could give or be a sponsor, just make that connection,” he said. “And the other thing is just to dream what it could be. It’s for our own use, but in the offseason when we’re not using it, we’ve dreamt of lots of stuff.”
 
He mentions street dances, farmers’ markets, a car parts swap or car show, for instance.
 
“It will be a big building that is wide and open because for hockey you can’t have support beams in the way, I think the community will be able to use it for so many other things,” he said.
 
Stone said the building will be outfitted with full capabilities of heating and cooling.
 
“But typically, when we’re going to use it – six months out of the year or whatever that is – it doesn’t cost much to keep a cold building cold in the middle of the winter,” he said.
 
Economic spur
 
Stone said indoor hockey rinks are viewed as an enhancement to economic development.
 
“They bring revenue to your community,” he said. “Let’s say we do eight tournaments – one per age group, one per team. You’ve got hotels, you’ve got restaurants, you’ve got shopping, you’ve got family members staying with family members, you’ve got jersey sales … there’s a lot of things that can happen,” he said. “It’s going to take community involvement, and not just Brandon, but Brandon and Sioux Falls. Fundraising right now is going to be hard because COVID’s hitting everybody. It might take six months, it might take people six years to recover from this, depending on where they were sitting and what kind of industry they were in.”
 

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