Ribbon-cutting commemorates new Moffat County Ice Arena equipment | CraigDailyPress.com

Ribbon-cutting commemorates new Moffat County Ice Arena equipment

Joshua Gordon
Craig youth hockey players
Joshua Gordon

Inside the Moffat County Ice Arena, there is no escape from the cold outside thanks to a newly repaired cooling system.

Craig youth hockey players, coaches and Craig Youth Hockey Association board members gathered Tuesday night at the arena to commemorate the renovated system with a ceremonial ribbon cutting to thank the Moffat County Commission, which funded the repairs.

Commissioner Audrey Danner said the commission spent around $48,000 to repair and rebuild the system in place.

“Most of the money spent was to dismantle the engine components and get all the parts in good working order,” Danner said.

The commission hired Diversified Thermal Service Inc., out of California, to evaluate the repairs and ultimately replace the parts.

Included in the cost was the training of a maintenance crew to administer routine maintenance on the equipment, Danner said.

Joanie Walt, president of the Craig Youth Hockey Association, said she helped in efforts to convince the Moffat County Commission to keep the arena open.

“When the ice arena’s systems starting breaking down, there were talks of the commission not investing money to keep the arena open,” Walt said. “The commissioners weren’t actively involved at the beginning.”

To show the interest the ice arena attracted, the Craig Youth Hockey Association hosted small workshops in March at the Moffat County Courthouse and continuing throughout the summer.

Anyone was able to attend, Walt said, and the workshops mainly consisted of question and answer sessions with the commissioners.

Commissioner Tom Mathers said he didn’t realize how much use the ice arena received before he started researching the cost of repairing the facility.

“The ice arena gets used heavily,” he said. “I really had no idea how much people used it.”

Through the workshops, Mathers said the commission saw positive involvement from the community in keeping the arena open.

“When we started the workshops, basically the community asked us what they could do to help,” he said. “They were willing to do fundraisers or anything to keep it open.”

In the end, Mathers said he and other commissioners felt it was their duty to make sure the ice arena was up and working properly.

“The ice arena gets a lot of community use, so (the moffat county commission) felt it was something we should take care of,” he said. “We feel it was a good investment.”

With the repairs to the ice arena’s equipment, Craig youth hockey teams still have a place to call home.

Walt said having a youth hockey program in Craig is important.

“Our hockey programs continue to grow every year,” she said. “From the youth up to the adults, we have a lot of activity going on in the ice arena.”

Besides keeping kids active, Walt said having a youth hockey program keeps kids out of trouble.

“Hockey provides a winter activity for the kids when they can’t always be outside,” she said. “It gives them something to do so they don’t get in trouble.”

With the new cooling system in place, Walt said the ice arena wouldn’t have been able to stay open without the commission.

“We wanted to come out here tonight and show the commissioners we appreciate their help and their time,” she said.