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Posted by on in Announcements

Spring Workshop Held May 12, 2015

The annual spring Workshop was held on Tuesday May 12, 2015 at the National hockey Center in St Cloud MN with 188 members in attendance including 31 vendor members who put on a trade show for all on the arena floor.

Our day started with tours of the newly remodeled National Hockey Center. The facility is located on the great campus of St. Cloud State University and home for the Division I huskies. The remodeling brings a very welcome feel as you walk in with an attention to opening up the building with high ceilings and glass which is appealing and makes you feel welcome.

Our official workshop began with a great welcome speech by men’s’ coach Bob Motzko who spoke about the pride he has in working with young men and the great pride he has when he walks into the arenas in the state as we “do” hockey well. He thanked Joe Meierhofer, our host arena manger, for all his work and insights into making the facility not notch which helps with his recruiting.

Next was the MIAMA Spring Business Meeting where topics were discussed updating members on activities occurring in our organization since we last met as a group in September 2014. Two key items announced each spring are the recipients of the Alan K. Payne Fall conference grants and the awarding of the annual James Padgett Award for outstanding achievement by a member facility.

There were four conference grant winners for the 2015 fall conference. There are: Luke Jacobson from Rosemount Ice Arena, Tony Seibert from Elk River Ice Arena, Geoff Clarke from St. Louis Park REC Center, and Chad Jameson from Drake arena. They will each receive a fully sponsored admission to the fall conference September 8-10, 2015 at Breezy Point Resort.

The 2015 James Padgett Award for excellence by a facility went to the Ralph Engelstad / Huck Olson Memorial Civic Center arenas in Thief River Falls. They incorporated 13 improvements ranging from boiler systems to lighting and many other items as well. (See following article on Padgett award for details of their accomplishments).

Following the business meeting we are treated to a great motivational speech by keynote speaker SSG John Kriesel who has survived a near death experiences while serving our country. He talks about making everyday a good day and how you have the power to do so.

Two breakout sessions were held on topics of interest before the trade show began. First Travis Larson gave an update and overview of the changes to Rinkfinder.com. There is great value in posting all your facilities information, ice for sale, events and activities. It’s FREE PR. for your arena.

The second session was presented by john Olson, from the Department of Health who provided results of two years of enforcement/education from the latest Air Quality changes with the new rules in effect for over two years now. He encouraged members with any questions to contact him as he can be of assistance in helping ensure proper standards and record keeping is being met.

After a short break we went down to the arena floor and were treated to a vendor member trade show where 31 vendors were present to show off their products and answer questions and network with members.

MIAMA would like to thank the vendors who sponsored refreshments etc. for the workshop. We saw their names on every display and message center at the national Sports Center as they so kindly did to acknowledge our vendors who stepped forward. They are Al’s Coffee, Becker Arena Products, Hillphoenix, HTG Architects, R & R Specialties and Zamboni.

The Spring Workshop was “Good Day” for MIAMA. The entire workshop was well planned and thanks to board member co –chairs Shayne Ratcliff and Jon Jackson for all their work in organizing the event!

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Congratulations to the entire staff at Ralph Engelstad Arena and Huck Olson Memorial Civic Center upon receiving the 2015 James Padgett award recognized for excellence. Each year MIAMA member arenas are encouraged to submit materials in which demonstrates ways in which their facility has either created new business, improvement service and operations, made improvements to the facility etc.

In 2015 the Ralph Engelstad Arena and Huck Olson Memorial Civic Center stood out for their commitments to improving their facility. There were 20 points of focus incorporated over a long planning and improvement process which took many years until actual implementation. Some of the improvements included new siding, insulation and lighting occupancy sensors and increased lighting controls and many energy saving measures to reduce consumption. There were improvements made to the boiler system to save energy with timers and controls and pumping switches.

The arena staff at Thief River Falls works concurrently with the entire Park & Recreation. They had a long list of supportive groups and individuals who worked in many different rolls along the way. In speaking of their accomplishments Parks Director Joe Amunson was quick to point out there were a multiple number of their City departments working together to make this happen. There was a process in place and much of the work was accomplished by previous and recently retired city employees and much of the credit is deserved by the people who were around when the facility was opened and identified many of the needs.


MIAMA President Craig Flor Presents Joe Amundson with the 2015 James Padgett Award

Current Full-Time Employees and Titles. Joe Amundson Parks and Recreation Director,

Mike Olson parks/Arenas Foreman, Aaron Joppru Todd Reed Ben Myers Tom Harbott Parks/Arenas Maintenance,

Missy Sletten Rec Coordinator, Ashley Hejlik Secretary, Cindy Sanden Concession Manager.

Since applying for the Padgett award the facility has continued and purchased Occupancy sensors for the entire arena and park facilities.  They also installed a VFD on our Cooling tower with our ice plant software upgrade realizing a $12,000 savings in Electrical Usage yearly.


Download their application here:  

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Posted by on in Announcements

Spring Forward

By John Cole


I was recently reminded of how easy it is to put off the most basic of tasks that come to us every day. And more importantly how important these tasks really are to progressing our industry. So, I asked myself.   Am I doing everything I can, even the smallest of things, to help move my facility and our industry forward? Some of my thoughts were… Maybe…sometimes…most days…I try to…I think I am, are all of us? The answer doesn’t really matter, as long as it is thought provoking and we’re open to change or at least thinking of changes for the better.


NHL playoffs are moving to round 2. College and High School seasons are in the books. The weather is changing and Ice Arenas are generally at a quite point in the season. The occasional open skate, private lesson, or maybe that AAA teams are what remains. This is when some of us are painting walls, doing that major floor repair, or maybe a long awaited upgrade in the building. Most of us are in final planning stages for summer camps, off ice training programs, and other facility user groups.

It is also a great time to take a step back to look at where you and your facility are going. What is happening with your full time and part time staff? What are the next big steps you must take to move your building in the right direction, which ever direction that may be. The opportunity is always there to look within to ensure we are putting thought, and planning into everything we do. This is a small industry, but it is growing and changing. We don’t just make ice; we are facility professionals who specialize in ice. We manage staff, guests, parents, players, coaches, and often have multiple facilities running at one time.


We may be planning for the future, but in reality the future is most likely in your building every day, maybe even right now. It may be that concessions employee, the college intern, the new part time driver, or the full-time person who never lets you down. Like me 10 years ago, some of them don’t know yet that they are the future yet. In some respects, I as much choose this profession, as it chooses me. I was lucky enough to have leaders and mentors who love this industry and were willing to give me a chance and teach me everything they know. I am still learning to this day.


The fact is none of us can work forever. But, when our time is done, will that concessions employee, or part time driver be ready to move your building into the future. Are you training them, teaching them your tricks that you had find out on your own. The little things, like you will most likely hear a problem with your ice resurfacer before you see it. These small tidbits of information build confidence, and confidence leads to enjoying what they’re doing and thinking for themselves.

I believe we all want people who are confident, proud, and willing to put in the effort for the good of the industry. We all have different size facilities, some new, some old, some really old. There is a massive amount of knowledge out there at all levels and we can all keep learning and moving forward.  


For those young or newer staff members, maybe the Spring Conference is a great place to start them thinking about a possible future in an ice arena.  

The Spring Conference is a great opportunity to meet people, learn, see new products, and really get a feel for where things are moving. No matter where you are in your building or your preparation for the upcoming season, please make sure you’re considering those who work with you are able to get the education and guidance they need to help our industry grow as much you have already.   We have a great community and tons of knowledge, I know many feel the same way and want to see us grow.


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