City of Duluth, DECC team up to repair arena’s ice plant

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 3:33 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Thousands of dollars will help keep youth hockey and figure skating alive at the DECC.

On Tuesday, Mayor Emily Larson and DECC Executive Director Dan Hartman announced a partnership to give $200,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to the arena.

This money was given to help them pay for a temporary new ice chiller to maintain the ice at the DECC Arena.

Earlier this year, the DECC’s ice plant was shut down after a scheduled third-party safety assessment advised the ice plant to be retired for safety reasons.

Officials say the plant was installed in 1966 and was well beyond its mechanical lifespan.

Due to this decision, several local hockey and figure skating groups were left without one of their main places to play or practice.

Duluth Amateur Hockey Association’s (DAHA) Executive Director Bob Nygaard says this investment will keep the athletes and the tourism dollars those sports bring in moving.

“Obviously this is a huge deal for thousands of hockey players and figure skaters, coaches, volunteers, and family members because it means we get to host so many more events in our wonderful city,” said Nygaard. “Not having the DECC available would have meant a drastic reduction in the number of teams we could allow to play in our tournaments and that would have meant a drastic reduction in tourism revenue for Duluth. It’s that simple.”

“It’s clear that maintaining the DECC’s ice sheet is critical not only to the families that love these sports but also to our local economy,” said Mayor Emily Larson. “The DECC Arena is part of the network of rinks in Duluth that support tournaments and competitions, which drive the economic impact through hotels, restaurants, retail, and related spending.”

“This is a good example of collaboration to ensure that families in the region are able to continue the activities that they’re passionate about. We are pleased and want to thank the City of Duluth, City Council, and Mayor Larson for making this temporary ice possible in DECC Arena,” said Daniel Hartman, Executive Director of Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

A study by UMD estimates that DAHA and the youth hockey tournaments have an economic impact of more than $10 million.

The Duluth Figure Skating Club also holds the second-largest competition in the country at the DECC.

This money has already been approved by the city council when they set it aside for tourism-related spending in 2021.

A separate plant makes the ice for Amsoil Arena and the Duluth Curling Club so those organizations were never going to be impacted.

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