St. Louis Park opens outdoor ice rink ahead of schedule

Demand for ice remains high across Minnesota

Mark Freie
October 19, 2019 - 12:22 pm

Mark Freie - WCCO Radio

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Given Minnesota's up-and-down weather patterns, you'd be hard pressed to find an outdoor ice rink that's ready for use across the state. That's not the case in St. Louis Park where the Recreation Outdoor Center's had outdoor ice since October 10.

"MEA week is when we'd normally put the ice in, but we had some interest for special events and tournaments," said Jason Eisold, who manages the St. Louis Park Rec Center.

The ice is part of the ROC, which was built in 2016. Eisold says the demand for ice has been increasing with the early installation.

"Kids have been spreading the word across the community," he said. "They've been coming over for open skating and pick-up games. It's definitely stayed busy."

It took about four days to tranform the ROC, which features a dry surface during the summer months, into an ice covered arena. So far, the weather hasn't had too big of an impact on skating conditions.

"As long as it's not 80 degrees we'll be fine," Eisold says. "The tarped roof above the arena helps minimize the sun's impact and our impact on the environment. It acts as a cooling sink for the indoor ice allowing us to use less energy to cool three rinks than we did when we had just two rinks."

MEA weekend offered a prime opportunity for youth hockey at the ROC. A three day Bantam AA Lidlifter tournament featuring 10 teams from the Twin Cities metro ran Thursday through Saturday.

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