NEW YORK/MINNEAPOLIS – As a legacy to the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic, the National Hockey League (NHL) and Minnesota Wild will install a brand new, state-of-the-art dryland training facility and mentoring room in Northeast Ice Arena, a community rink located within two miles of downtown Minneapolis.
The Northeast Ice Arena facility, owned and operated by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, serves as home ice for the Herb Brooks Foundation’s ‘Learn to Play’ and ‘Learn to Skate’ free Rink Rats hockey programs, Minneapolis Boys and Girls JV and Varsity High School teams, the Minneapolis Storm and Minneapolis Titans Youth Hockey Associations, City of Lakes Youth Hockey Association, and other local community hockey programs.
“The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is excited to partner with the Minnesota Wild, the National Hockey League and the Herb Brooks Foundation to bring this great amenity to Northeast Ice Arena,” said Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Superintendent, Al Bangoura.
The Northeast Ice Arena has an indoor hockey rink, ice rink, lacrosse field, and soccer field, but no dryland training space. The brand-new space, which will be built with funds donated by the Minnesota Wild and NHL, will open in Spring 2022 and will be designed by the Wild’s Strength & Conditioning Coach Sean Skahan. The facility will include state-of-the-art rubber and turf like the flooring in the Minnesota Wild’s training spaces; a speed, agility, and plyometric area; a strength and conditioning area with various weights and equipment for bodyweight training; as well as an area for cardiovascular conditioning with Airdyne Bikes and slide boards.
“The Minnesota Wild is thrilled to announce the 2022 NHL Winter Classic Legacy project will create a new state-of-the-art dryland training and mentoring space at Northeast Ice Arena in Minneapolis for the public to use,” said Minnesota Wild President Matt Majka. “We are thankful for the support of the NHL, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Herb Brooks Foundation in helping to make this project come to life and look forward to the grand opening this Spring.”
In addition to the dryland training facility, a mentoring room will be built to support an ongoing collaboration between the Minnesota Wild, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Herb Brooks Foundation and local law enforcement. Together, the groups will ensure the brand-new spaces function as a safe space for any child who wants to learn to skate and play the great game of hockey. Additionally, local law enforcement from Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis will assist in staffing the facility and serve as mentors to youth participants.
“We are very excited to be a part of this truly unique initiative to continue to grow the game and grow these young people on and off the ice,” said Dan Brooks, son of legendary hockey coach Herb Brooks. “This is the exact type of training and mentorship idea that my dad would have wanted in our ‘State of Hockey.'”
“This joint project with the Minnesota Wild will help to ensure boys and girls for years to come have a safe space to learn and play the game, while also benefitting from an active and healthier lifestyle,” said Kim Davis, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs. “We’re thrilled to see so many community organizations come together to build a sustainable space with programming that is free to the public. This is a great example of how communities can come together to have a meaningful impact.”
The Legacy initiative is an ongoing philanthropic endeavor through which the League and the local Club support community organizations in the host city of an NHL Event. Since 2003, the League, its Clubs and partners have donated more than $6 million to communities across North America. Legacy projects have aided thousands of hospital patients in recovery; helped at-risk youth and families gain better access to educational and vocational training; and provided greater access to people of all ages to learn and play hockey.