MSA, Rec Sports discuss outdoor hockey pond

Although the University of Minnesota is known for its hockey, it can be difficult for students to find a place to play near campus. But talks of proposing a new outdoor hockey rink on campus could change that. Minnesota Student Association Facilities and Housing Chair Paul Strain said he wants to discuss the rinkâÄôs possibilities with the Department of Recreational Sports. âÄúI think it would give a possible outlet for [students] during the winter to really get some outdoor activity,âÄù Strain said. âÄúI feel like a lot of times during the winters âĦ thereâÄôs not too much that folks can do outside.âÄù Strain said his plan would put a rink on the soccer field near Cooke Hall , with general hours of operation and a temporary fence. Putting together a successful plan for the outdoor hockey rink, however, could be difficult. A proposal would need to include a description of the facility and who would use it, along with a site location and business plan, said Jim Turman , recreational sports director. Dan Allen, senior associate director for Recreational Sports, said there have been ice rinks for broomball at that location in the past, but it was hard to maintain because underground utilities keep the ground too warm for ice. âÄúI was a student here and I was on the flood crew. I can remember being out there 2, 3 in the morning flooding those things,âÄù Allen said. âÄúItâÄôs a lot of work, and the weather is just so unpredictable.âÄù Turman said they moved the broomball programs indoors because âÄúthatâÄôs what students wanted.âÄù Some intramural hockey players said theyâÄôd âÄúdefinitelyâÄù skate on it. âÄúAs a junior, itâÄôs probably something I dreamed of living in Minnesota, playing hockey a lot,âÄù said applied economics student Eric Anderson . Economics junior Joe Parpart said there isnâÄôt much ice available outside of intramural leagues. âÄúI think thereâÄôs open hockey a couple nights a week but thatâÄôs it,âÄù Parpart said. Other pending projects, like adding on to the University Recreation Center , upgrading the Bierman athletic fields , and a new classroom building near Cooke Hall, may challenge the outdoor rink, Turman said. Allen said getting approval there may be difficult. âÄúItâÄôs possible theyâÄôre going to say âÄòdonâÄôt even put anything out there because youâÄôre going to have to tear it down in a year or two,âÄôâÄù he said. Although it would be difficult, Allen and Turman both said they would listen to ideas. If MSA formally proposes it, they would have to attend a board meeting and talk about their ideas to get input. Allen said in the past, there has been interest early on in such proposals, but it later faded. âÄúIf people have got an idea and they want to bring it forward, we always like to hear them,âÄù he said. âÄúBut we have to use our experience a little bit too in making these decisions.âÄù Strain said the next step will be to talk with Recreational Sports staff and put a formal proposal together. Still, Parpart said an opportunity to play closer to campus would be nice âÄúto get a chance to come out and keep playing hockey because itâÄôs a great sport.âÄù