SARTELL, Minn. -- When parents tell their kids to “go play outside” in the winter, that could mean a trip the new hockey rink in Sartell, starting in 18 months or so.
Thanks to a notable financial contribution from Fargo, N.D.-based Scheels All Sports, they are planning for a second ice sheet in Sartell, a community of 17,000 just north of St. Cloud. The new rink will be open-air with a roof and stationary seating, and will include both ice refrigeration and a turf system for year-round use. It will be located adjacent to Bernick’s Arena, which opened in 2003.
On Monday, April 22, the Sartell City Council voted unanimously to approve the name Scheels Athletic Complex for the entire park.
“While this campaign was prompted by the incredible growth of the Sartell Youth Hockey Association, the main tenant of Bernick’s Arena, spiked population increases in Sartell over the last several years have put a strain on the number of recreational spaces and athletic fields,” said Chad Ritter, a Sartell Youth Rec Center board member, in a statement. “The Scheels Athletic Complex will help address this crunch the community is feeling across the board – in multiple sports.”
A campaign has been underway, raising money for a second ice sheet for the past two years, but the Scheels lead gift allowed the project to move forward. Dan Folsom, the chair of the arena expansion campaign, said that they are not disclosing the amount of the Scheels donation, but that it was “significant.”
The entire expansion project is expected to cost $5.3 million, and they need $2.9 million for the first phase, which is the arena. Other phases of the project include an expanded lobby to link the current arena with the new facility. Folsom said they are still raising money expect to move to the design phase by the fall and will begin construction in a year, with hopes of having the arena open for the 2020-21 hockey season.
Youth hockey in Sartell has seen significant growth in recent years, leading to an ice time crunch at their single ice sheet. According to Folsom, they have had more than 150 kids in their mite program for the past two winters.
Scheels operates 27 stores in a dozen states and has its name on numerous athletic facilities.
In Fargo, the company has its name on the 6,000-seat home arena of the Fargo Force, which recently played host to the NCAA West Regional, and on the 5,700-seat home arena of North Dakota State University basketball. In suburban Kansas City, the 96-acre Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex includes a dozen lighted turf fields.
Among other facilities, the company also has naming rights on:
- In Grand Forks, N.D., the Scheels Sports Complex includes four baseball/fastpitch softball diamonds and two practice soccer fields.
- The Scheels Sports Complex in Bismarck, N.D., has eight youth baseball fields.
- 15 soccer fields make up the Scheels USA Youth Soccer Complex in Appleton, Wis.
- In Sioux Falls, S.D., the Scheels IcePlex is home to three ice rinks at the Sanford Sports Complex.