Spreading the Word About Schulz Rink of Dreams

Schulz Rink of Dreams
Schulz Rink of Dreams (via “Schulz Rink of Dreams” Facebook Page)

Last night we learned of a unique hockey rink in a giant farm shed on a farm in Madison Lake, a small town in Southeastern Minnesota.  It’s called Schulz Rink of Dreams in honor of the late Paul Schulz.

Schulz was a hockey fan of epic proportions.  His love of hockey was so great that when he needed to build a shed to store his farm equipment, he built one with floor space in excess of 200 by 85 feet, and overhead clearance of 15 to 20 feet; So that some day, in the winter, he could convert the shed into an indoor hockey rink.

At some point, Paul acquired a complete set of used arena boards and plexiglass from an arena that was replacing them.  Thirteen years ago– before he assembled the Rink of Dreams for the first time, Paul also bought a used, 1962 Zamboni ice resurfacer.

With great effort, he assembled all of this equipment into a complete ice hockey rink with natural ice.  He offered this ice surface to all comers in his community for free.

After the first season of operation, Paul died of a heart attack, while planting his fields for the growing season.

In the 12 seasons since he passed away, Paul’s widow Stacy Schulz-Pope, Paul’s family, and friends have reassembled and successfully operated the rink.

After seeing this story online, we decided to add Schulz Rink of Dreams as the 4,650th arena in RinkAtlas:

On Sunday, February 11, 2018, Boyd Huppert reported for KARE 11 Television from Madison Lake, Minnesota about this unique hockey rink.  The 5-minute video that presents this story is a must-watch. It’s the kind of news piece that gives you hope for the future of traditional television broadcasting.  It tells a story of a place that most people have never heard of, but would want to know exists even if they don’t eat, drink, and sleep the sport of hockey like we do.

Upon further reflection, we realized that a local news report, no matter how heartwarming, probably wouldn’t go viral without a little help in a lot of different places.  If there’s any purpose to having a blog on RinkAtlas, it should be to tell stories of people who can legitimately be called the builders of hockey’s future.  The Schulz Family are some of those people.

RinkAtlas Helps You Find Any Arena in North America, Not Just the Ones that are Easy to Find

Here’s the latest arena to be added to RinkAtlas. It’s a place called Shinapest Tooma Memorial Arena in Kawawachikamach, Québec.

This is an arena that you cannot reach by car from the populated parts of North America. You either have to take a train from Sept Îlles or you have to fly in to the nearby town of Schefferville.

A number of people have asked, “Why are you focusing on indoor hockey arenas in the Canadian sub-arctic?”

It’s not that I’m focusing on them. It’s that the goal of RinkAtlas is to include every arena in North America where hockey is played. And when I say that, I mean all of them. Not just the arenas that everybody knows about.

Besides that, two men I know through hockey and through my research, Joé Juneau and Nicolas Chalifoux, have worked in or on this arena and they take pride in it. I try to celebrate that as well.

Vernon Civic Arena Holding Final Vernon Vipers Game on January 6

Global News reports that Vernon Civic Arena in Vernon, British Columbia will hold an 80th anniversary celebration on Saturday, January 6, with a final scheduled BCHL (junior hockey) game between the Vernon Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings.  The Vernon Civic Arena is considered the first indoor ice arena in the Okanagan.

The game is sold out, but tickets may be available at the gate “if some season ticket holders {who received tickets as part of their ticket distribution} don’t show up.”

Kal Tire Place, a nearby 3,003 seat arena, which is the current home of the Vernon Vipers is adding a second ice surface.  When this new surface is completed later in 2018, it will allow the City of Vernon to close Vernon Civic Arena and continue to offer the same amount of ice time to community hockey and skating programs.

Vernon Civic Arena Time Line

  • Later in 2018: Second ice surface at Kal Tire Place to be completed.  Vernon Civic Arena officially closed.
  • January 6, 2018: Scheduled game between Vernon Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings.  This is expected to be the last BCHL game at Vernon Civic Arena.  The game is sold out, but Global News says standby tickets may be available.
  • April 24, 2017: Ground broken on second ice surface at Kal Tire Place.
  • November 28, 2015: Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) residents vote to replace Vernon Civic Arena with a second ice surface at nearby Kal Tire Place.  This referendum authorized borrowing of C$ 13.25 million ($10.6 million) to pay for the expansion of Kal Tire Place.
  • June 18, 2014: The Corporation of the City of Vernon and MQN Architects publish a Civic Arena Replacement Feasibility Study.  The study recommended adding a second ice surface to Kal Tire Place situated north of the main building, to be built in part of the current parking area.
  • April 3, 2014: Structural deficiencies were identified in the Vernon Civic Arena.  Vernon Recreation Services said that replacing the current ice surface in the event of a catastrophic failure would cost C$ 5.6 million ($4.5 million).  The other options that were explored were twinning (building a second indoor ice surface) at Priest Valley Arena or Kal Tire Place.
  • January 6, 1938: Vernon Civic Arena opened.  This was the first indoor ice arena in the Okanagan area of British Columbia.

RinkAtlas North American Arena Directory Completed

Mission accomplished! RinkAtlas now contains every arena in Canada to go along with our comprehensive directory of American rinks.

The journey to this point began about one year ago. I want to thank my family who gave me the opportunity to focus, my friends who funded the RinkAtlas Kickstarter Project, the friends who shared arena photos from the Alaskan Arctic to South Florida, and everyone who asked me how things were going in person or online. Your support has made this achievement possible.

There is much more to come in the quest to build a directory of the most useful information about North American ice arenas. But getting to the point where all of the states, provinces, and territories were equally represented was Job One.

North American Arena Directory
The RinkAtlas North American Arena Directory was completed on September 14, 2017

The Oldest Operating Arena in the World Could Be Calumet Colosseum on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Thanks to friends like Adam Wodon of College Hockey News, we are gathering historical information about arenas in North America.

One of the documents that Adam found and shared with us is Ice Rinks in the Copper Country which is a history of ice rinks in the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This document talks about a few arenas that existed prior to 1900, but the oldest arena that still exists in that area is thought to be the oldest operating indoor ice arena in the world.

The Calumet Colosseum in Calumet, Michigan was built 1913 and is still in use today.  It was featured in the article 100 Years Young: Calumet Colosseum in USA Hockey Magazine four years ago.

In spite of the fact that the Colosseum has been used for hockey since 1913, it only installed an artificial ice plant in 1968.  Their ability to play hockey indoors prior to 1968 appears to be due to the cold conditions in Calumet during the winter.

The USA Hockey Magazine article talks about the ice plant being built with volunteer labor during a strike at the Calumet and Hecla (C&H) Mining Company resulted in the striking workers volunteering to build the ice plant.

As a result of the articles that Adam has sent us recently, we have a good amount of historical information about arenas that can be incorporated into RinkAtlas.  We’re also beginning a trial project to document the closed arenas in New Jersey with an eye toward writing a history of arenas in the Atlantic District of USA Hockey in the future.

Air Canada Centre to be Renamed Scotiabank Arena in July 2018

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and Scotiabank announced a record-breaking 20-year naming rights deal for the arena on Bay Street in Toronto currently known as Air Canada Centre.

According to the Globe & Mail, the arena’s name will become Scotiabank Arena in July 2018. The cost of this agreement to Scotiabank is reportedly $800 million.

This announcement is uncharted territory for RinkAtlas. Over the past year, we’ve begun tracking previous names of arenas in our directory, but we’ve never know the future name of an existing arena so far in advance.

Should we start tracking future names for arenas?

Ontario Arena Directory Completed!

We completed the Ontario arena directory today. Over 900 arenas and park rinks were added to the RinkAtlas database.

We completed our arena directory for Ontario today!

RinkAtlas.com now covers over 900 arenas and park rinks in Ontario, from Kenora in the west to Hawkesbury in the east. We also have over 1,000 arenas and park rinks listed in Quebec & the Maritimes.

Next we’re building a complete directory of arenas in Manitoba.

Dr. Pepper StarCenter in McKinney, TX Reportedly Planning Big Expansion

Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney Concept
Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney Concept Drawing, from the presentation to the McKinney TX City Council

Yesterday, Cassidy Ritter in Dallas-Fort Worth Community Impact reported that Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney will add an additional 1,800 seat NHL-sized sheet, with more parking and locker rooms.

What makes this article especially interesting is the details of what was said in the presentation to the McKinney City Council, the repurposing of space devoted to ball fields for indoor ice, and the grants coming from McKinney Community Development Corporation and the City of McKinney.

This shows that hockey and skating are growing in the State of Texas, and how committed growing communities in Texas are to continuing the expansion of recreation facilities. [ Thanks to Scott Wheeler for sharing the link where we could see it. ]

Is Louisville Laying the Foundation for an NHL Future?

The Louisville Kentucky city council and the chairman of their arena authority are discussing adapting the KFC Yum! Center for NHL hockey.

The KFC Yum Center is an arena now primarily used for Louisville Cardinals basketball games. It was originally built without an ice plant because the basketball floor might get slippery, and– why would a lot of people want to go see hockey “that far in the South”?

But then, the runaway success of the Nashville Predators two hours to their south happened.

This is a long shot, but Nashville – Louisville could become a Western Conference rivalry, because the distance between the two cities is easily drivable. [photo of KFC Yum! Center from the KFC Yum! Center website]

RinkAtlas Search Improved for Arenas in French-Speaking Areas of Canada

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve added information to the directory entries for arenas in the French-speaking areas of Canada to allow RinkAtlas users to search according to the city and arena names as they are typically spelled in either French or English.

This means that arenas like “Aréna de Bernières Saint-Rédempteur” in Saint-Rédempteur, Québec can be searched for by typing any of the following:

  • Aréna de Bernières Saint-Rédempteur
  • Arena de Bernieres Saint Redempteur
  • Arena de Bernieres St. Redempteur

We also created alternative city names, so that arenas in Montréal, for example, can be found by searching:

  • Montréal, QC
  • Montreal, QC

Arenas in Quebec City, which is referred to simply as “Québec” in French, can be found by searching:

  • Québec, QC
  • Quebec, QC
  • Quebec City, QC

We hope that this solves a number of issues with arena and city searches that relate to the bilingual nature of RinkAtlas’ arena directory.  We hope to eventually fully localize the RinkAtlas application to support French as well as English.

Thank you for your support of RinkAtlas!