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Get ready for warm-weather hockey in Farmington

Local hockey players will get a little extra ice time for three weeks this summer.

At a Feb. 10 workshop, Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad told city council members he’d received requests for summer ice time from the coaches of the Farmington High School boys and girls hockey teams. The request was to have a two or three weeks of ice at the Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena, in either June or July.

The city tried a season of summer ice in 2011, Distad said, but lost money on the venture. Distad attributed the loss to an outdated and undersized dehumidification system that made it hard to maintain the ice surface.

That system was replaced in 2013. The new system is being used for the first time during this hockey season. To date, Distad said, the new system is working well.

Teams frequently look for ice time during the summer. When Farmington does not have summer ice, it sends teams to other cities like Lakeville, Apple Valley and Rosemount.

That doesn’t sit well with mayor Todd Larson.

“I’m so tired of people leaving the city for other things,” Larson said. “It frustrates me to no end.”

Larson believes the city council approved the new dehumidification system, in part, so that Farmington could also offer summer ice. And now he wants to see that happen.

“I’m for it. I want to try it. We put in that system for a reason.” he said.

Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena showed a small profit in 2013, Distad said. He’s prepared to go along with council’s wishes when it comes to opening the doors for a few weeks during the summer, but he also cautioned that doing so may cause the arena to lose money this year. There are other costs that go along with opening the arena for summer ice. For instance, Lakeville paid $3,143 in natural gas costs to keep Hasse Arena open last July.

“We want to make sure you go into this with your eyes wide open, so if there is a deficit at the end of the year, you’ll know why,” Distad said.

But council members support the proposal all the same.

“I think I would regret not doing it more than I would I would regret doing it,” council member Doug Bonar said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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