Youth hockey group seeking to expand ice arena
Citing the rapidly growing interest in youth hockey, the Dodge County Youth Hockey Association has approached the county board about expanding the ice arena in Kasson.
Hockey association President Mike Stagman addressed last week’s board meeting asking the county to formally begin investigating the possibility of adding a second sheet of ice, more locker rooms, dry land training facilities, meeting rooms and possibly an indoor running/walking track.
He told commissioners that in the past six years the association has had a 156 percent increase in the Learn to Skate Program and a 37 percent increase for the Termite program (ages 4-6). He said the regular season has increased 17 percent since the 2012-2013 season to 239 players and that this year youth hockey, not including high school players, will have more than 375 kids participating.
“Dodge County hockey is growing,” he said. “We need more ice time.”
He said his daughter is now getting off the ice at 10:15 p.m. on school nights and that next year they will be putting youngsters on the ice at 10:30 p.m.
Stagman said that the hockey association would not need the use of two sheets of ice year round and that they were interested in the community having access to the facility for other activities during the non-hockey season.
In his memo to the commissioners, Stagman said that funding details had not been worked out but that the association is planning to fund the majority of the project through charitable gambling, grants and private donations.
The estimated cost, he said, is $4,000,000.
Although commissioners took no official stand on the project, a number of concerns were raised.
Commissioner David Erickson pointed out that the proposed ice sheet would be built on fair property.