South Dakota is not well known for its ice hockey and figure skating programs.
That could all change now that Scheels All Sports has donated $750,000 toward a $7.7 million project to create a brand-new, indoor, three-ice sheet facility in Sioux Falls.
Dubbed the Scheels Iceplex, the facility will be able to host hockey tournaments and figure skating competitions as well as offer rink time to the public—something that could be a big draw for Augustana students.
The Sioux Falls Minnehaha Ice and Recreation Center is the facility currently used for ice sports in the area.
Not open in the summer, rink time is extremely limited. The Stampede, youth hockey teams and figure skaters all want equal time, causing a lot of overcrowding and frustration.
Augustana’s Recreational Services coordinator Carmen Hecht said the new facility would be a great addition to the city. “A new ice rink in Sioux Falls could certainly broaden our options in terms of ice hockey, broomball, late night ice skating and other activities,” Hecht said.
Students share Hecht’s optimism in participation at the future venue.
“I think that a new ice rink would be something different and entertaining for students to use,” senior Mica Haley said. “It would give us a chance to play and create memories.”
Adding an Augustana hockey team could potentially attract more students to the school.
“Besides the Sioux Falls Arena. . . there are not really any quality rinks in the city,” freshman ex-hockey player Sarah Petereit said. “Depending on the division, it would attract more hockey players that would be willing to come to Augustana.”
Senior ex-hockey player Adam Jorde agrees. “I was very sad when I could not play hockey anymore, even as an intramural team,” Jorde said. “It would have been a huge pull for me if there was a rink that was quality and some sort of an Augustana hockey team, whether it be club or intramural.”
Figure skaters are another group at Augustana that would appreciate a new facility.
“[Figure skating] is a growing sport that takes a lot of time and dedication,” junior ex-figure skater Olivia Sundeen said. “When the new complex is completed, it could spark interest in a beautiful sport. I know that I would love to get back into it and even attend adult classes.”
The Scheels Iceplex is expected to be completed by fall 2014.