hockey players hard
Left out in the
Express Staff Writer
understandable that the recent news of the Sun Valley indoor ice rink
closing throughout the winter has aroused passionate emotions on both
sides of the issue.
far-reaching impacts on the valleyís recreational ice hockey programs
this winter because Sun Valley has the only indoor rink in the area.
18, Lana Breazeale, director of recreation at Sun Valley Company, issued
a fax "To All Interested Parties" which cited the following
to Nov. 26 and Feb. 10 to March 11. The statement went on to say the ice
may not be available Jan. 6-27. Summing up, thatís about 13 weeks of
prime skating time.
closures are the direct result of extensive renovations by Sun Valley
Company on the banquet and conference facilities at the Sun Valley Inn.
conferences are usually staged at the Inn, but with the construction,
some of the larger meetings and banquets are being moved to the indoor
ice rink forcing out the skating programs.
is not something we do lightly," Sun Valley marketing director Jack
Sibbach said. "We donít want to see the hockey programs
interrupted, but there is no good time to do this. The facilities are
horribly outdated and this will make a big improvement."
Valley Suns player John Miller said, "The ripple effect is huge. I
donít think Sun Valley understands."
but Sun Valley does seem aware of the implications. "We all would
all like better news," Breazeale stated.
major project, according to Gordon Flade, Sun Valley maintenance
director who is overseeing the construction.
"We are demoing a lot of the entryway from the porte-cochŤre to
the old lobby. We are also demoing the Continental Cafeteria and the
main lobby. As soon as the jazz festival is over (mid-to late-October)
we will start on the interior.
Limelight Room is going to have a complete faceliftópaint, carpeting,
new doors, new ceiling, new heating, venting and air conditioning
when the project will be completed, Flade said the estimate is late
"We are hoping to have the Continental Cafeteria, main lobby and
entry area done before Christmas, and have the convention and meeting
facilities done around the first of June."
figure skating, the Sun Valley indoor ice rink has been home ice to five
different ice hockey organizations throughout the years.
include the Sun Valley Suns, Sun Valley Womenís Hockey, Senior League
Hockey, B League Hockey and Sun Valley Junior Hockey.
organizations consist of 26 teams on which an estimated 500 people,
including children, participate.
season generally runs from October to April, Like many similar
facilities, the rink is in use a proverbial 24-7, between practices,
games and tournaments.
program that may be seriously compromised is the Sun Valley Suns senior
menís team. It has played at the rink Friday and Saturday nights
continuously over the past 27 years. The team also practices two nights
a huge hit to our program," nine-year Suns wing John Miller
remarked. "If we only have a five-week program, we wonít
season, one of their most successful ever, the Suns played 30 gamesó24
current restrictions, the Suns could schedule a 16-game home season, but
four of the openings are the week before and after Christmasóproblematic
dates for teams to travel to and from the Valley.
captain Chris Benson said, "We can have 16 (games) if we go to
April 12, which stretches it. It will be tough to keep the townsfolk
interested and enthused if we play three weeks and have three weeks off.
It wonít do much for crowd support which is the backbone of our
high school coach and B League commissioner Danny Thomas tried to put
things in a positive light.
"We are going to do our best. We are going to take whatever time we
can get from Sun Valley and do the rest outdoors. And we are going to
try and make it fun. Who knows? It could bring the community
Gorham, president of Sun Valley Junior Hockey, said the youth teams will
try and work around the closure.
we have done is design a season from Dec. 1 to Feb. 20. Ideally, we will
be inside all 12 weeks, but we might be displaced for two weeks. If that
happens, we might go to Roberta McKercher Park in Hailey," he said.
River Valley does have two free outdoor rinks at Roberta McKercher Park
in Hailey and Atkinson Park in Ketchum.
bracing for the extra skaters this winter, but the Hailey park is the
only one seriously considering changes to accommodate the displaced
board member Beje Reynolds said, "We are working on boards. We have
a sample segment going. We have enough of a sheet of ice that we can
accommodate two rinks, but itís going to be total pond hockey. Itís
going to be cold, especially in the dark."
four-year-old Hailey rink is a non-profit organization run solely by
will still maintain the ice, even though this is going to add quite a
bit to the equation," board member Diane Heiner said.
Recreation Director Terry Tracy of Atkinson Park said the lack of
lights, liability issues and cost make putting up boards in Ketchum a
are limited, but maintenance is the main reason we canít consider
it," Tracy said.
Valley briefly weighed the option of erecting boards.
said, "We had considered putting up boards, but not anymore. It is
cost prohibitive and there are liability issues. Then what do you do
with the boards, which cost $25,000, after you are done using
What the future
problems the closure have created have also opened up dialogue on what
many townspeople consider a pressing issue: the need for another
enclosed ice rink in the Wood River Valley.
think this could be a catalyst and people will realize how much we need
as rink in Hailey," Reynolds said.
community centers currently in the planning stages, the Bill Janss
Center in Ketchum, and the 5B Sports Center in Hailey, would house
indoor ice rinks.
of the Bill Janss Center remarked, "On one hand Sun Valley is a
business that has to run like one. You canít fault them for making
improvements. On the other, it does show that as a town and community we
can take charge of our own destiny, providing a place for youth and
people who play hockey find themselves at the mercy of both Sun Valley
Company and the weather.
optimum conditions the outdoor rinks could be running in early December.
Until then, people will have to be flexible and creative.
teams have scheduled practice time at Ice World in Boise. Others will
travel to more tournaments.
Sibbach, whose son plays junior hockey, sounded a little downcast at the
prospect of the rink shutting down.
like a bad root canal," he said. "But it has to be done."