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Posted by on in Presidents Corner

Its here!

October is already half over, the 2013 MIAMA Fall conference is a distant memory. The Wild, the Gopher Men’s and Women’s hockey teams are all several games into their 2013-14 season.   In a few weeks, the MSHSL Girls Hockey and Boys Hockey Seasons will officially start, as well as the USA Hockey youth season will be in full swing before you know it. Although we have all been through getting geared up for the hockey season before, this season once again will offer several new things, new coaches, new team rosters, new faces, and new issues to deal with and force changes to adjust to what is new and different. In a nut shell, a new hockey season should always mean a new season of changes.

Change can be one of the most challenging times or one of the most celebrated times in our lives.   Without change not a whole lot would progress or get better. There are many changes big and small that will have to be implemented sooner or later in your facility that ultimately affect your customers/guests.  Some changes you personally have planned and created and will implement, while others will be changes that happen outside of your control and you and your operation will have to adjust to accommodate. Whether change is planned or not, your knowledge of the change your attitude toward that change can dictate how successful it will be.  The MIAMA fall conference offered a great time to discuss any changes you may be facing with colleagues, as well as listening to some great leadership points from our featured speakers that we have taken back to our facilities to incorporate into your operation.

As your busy season begins, embrace, implement, and try to be a head of whatever change that will make your facility and operation the best it can be. Always know that whatever change is on the horizon may be new to you but it may be something the rink 15 minutes away or 3 hours away may have already encountered. Give your colleagues a call and bounce the idea off of them.  Hopefully some changes are noticed by your guests while other changes no one notices. Regardless of the change they hopefully help make your operation and facility a better place for everyone.   Your operation and facility is an important part of creating lifetime memories for kids, parents, and fans everyday.   Before you know it March Madness will be here and gone and we will be again looking forward to the 2014-15 season.

--"Remember, I'm pullin' for ya'.  We're all in this thing together."
                                           -Red Green
Craig Flor

2013-14 MIAMA President

Posted by on in News

Bids on Vadnais Sports Center become public

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?" style="color: #5278ae; text-decoration: none; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal;">By Sarah Horner
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
POSTED:   09/30/2013 12:01:00 AM CDT | UPDATED:   ABOUT 4 HOURS AGO

A skater enters the Vadnais Sports Center in Vadnais Heights, Tuesday, June 5, 2012. The facility has two sheets of ice and the state's second-tallest dome covering a 100,000-square-foot turf field. (Pioneer Press: Chris Polydoroff)

Final offers on the Vadnais Sports Center are in and the one proposed by Ramsey County to buy the beleaguered arena stands apart from the rest.

Though it is the lowest of three still under consideration, Ramsey County is the only potential buyer with the finances to buy the 200,0000-square-foot complex with cash, according to a public notice filed Monday with bond holders.

The county's offer came in at about $10.6 million.

"We bid where it made sense," said County Commissioner Blake Huffman. "At the end of the day we will see what the bonder holders want."

The other two potential buyers -- Northern Educate VSC LLC and Gem Lake Lodge LLC -- bid $13 million and about $10.7 million, respectively, according to the document.

Neither of those two entities could prove they have cash financing to cover their offer, though both extended bondholders the opportunity to swap a portion of their bond debt for equity in their business, said Dan Nelson, an attorney for the arena's owner, Community Facility Partners.

"The other two have letters of interest from lenders but they don't have a lender at the table right now saying 'We agree to make a loan for X, Y or Z...,'" Nelson said. "It's that whole bird in the hand versus something else in the bush question ... that will be for the bondholders to decide."

All three bidders, Ramsey County included, have indicated intent to continue to operate the facility as a sports center, Nelson said.

The arena houses two hockey rinks, a domed field and a running track. There are also locker rooms, a concession area and office space. Sak's sports bar is attached to the building.

Northern Educate is a current tenant of the Vadnais Sports Center. The intensive sports training program for students in kindergarten through 12th grade has seen explosive growth in enrollment since opening about two years ago.

Gem Lake Lodge is described in the notice as an affiliate of the White Bear Lake Hockey Association.

Ramsey County owns and operates 11 sheets of ice countywide. Officials have said acquiring the Vadnais Sports Center for the right price would be a logical addition to its fleet.

Representatives from Gem Lake Lodge and Northern Educate did not respond to calls for comment Monday.

The sports arena went up for sale in July for $13 million after failing to earn enough revenue to cover debt payments owned to bond holders on the $26 million facility.

When it opened in 2010, the city of Vadnais Heights had agreed to financially back the arena. After failing to live up to performance expectations, the city quickly found itself handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover shortfalls.

It cut ties with the center at the end of last year, leaving bondholders without a guaranteed pay back plan.

After hitting the market, some 20 entities expressed interest in buying the facility, Nelson said.

The pool was narrowed to three a few weeks ago.

Bondholders will have an opportunity to ask questions about the remaining offers and share their opinions on the sale at a conference call scheduled Oct. 23.

Gem Lake Lodge as well as Northern Educate will have the opportunity to further explain their proposals at that time, Nelson said.

A buyer is expected to be selected shortly after that date, Nelson said.

After the selection is made there will be a 45 day window for the buyer to conduct further due diligence on the finances of the arena.

If county officials come to learn revenues can't cover the arena's expenses plus future capital costs, Ramsey County will walk away, Huffman said.

"Our first priority all along has been that user fees need to pay for everything," Huffman said.

County Commissioner Rafael Ortega wouldn't go quite that far.

"If that doesn't work out, then the board will have a discussion about how we move forward," Ortega said.

Sarah Horner can be reached at 651-228-5539. Follow her at

Posted by on in Announcements

Hockey Nets: Fast and Easy

Submitted by Bob Baltgalvis, Veterans Memorial Community Center/ Richfield Ice Arena

Everyone knows that stringing nets is a tedious process and not many people enjoy it. Here is a fast easy way to string your nets up.

Tying nets takes time, not to mention, is hard on your hands. Some arenas take up to a full week to complete a set of nets. Imagine having both nets completely done in one day. Avoid the possibility of having your nets half done when you decide to take a break, only to come back to find your nets sliced up by a hockey player with a utility knife that was left out by the nets.

Here’s what you need (per net):

  • 26’ of ¼” rod stock
  • Approximately 50 ¼” clips
  • Self tapping screws – number varies

You can find all of these items in a Grainger catalog. One net roughly needs 26’ of rod stock, six feet across the top, four feet on each side and twelve feet divided up into four sections for the bottom. You will need to pre-drill the holes for the screws, as it makes screwing the net to the frame much easier. These nets have screws every eight inches. It can vary depending on how secure you want the net.

Begin with the top of the net and thread the rod thru the net and attach the clips to the rod. Then, simply screw the clips to the net frame. Next do the two sides. You will need to use wire ties to pull the net down to the bottom of the frame. Repeat the same process used for the top of the net. Next, secure the bottom of the net. I found it easiest to do both curves of the net first. Simply bend the rod to the curve of the net. Finally, secure the back of the net. If you are using the bottom pads, screw them to the frame the same way, only put them in upside down and roll them back over to prevent them from hanging too low when they are tipped up on the boards on the ice.

The final step is the skirt. The skirt is screwed to the net frame as well, predrilled and then screwed to the frame along the bottom. You will still need to thread string thru the top of the skirt, but that is the only tying you will need to do. Follow these steps and you can have your nets done in one day!  

Here are some photos to show how this looks and works or stop by VMCC and I will be happy to show you the nets!




Posted by on in News

The 2013 MIAMA Fall Conference was held September 4- 6th at Ruttgers’s Sugar Lake Lodge with 127 total attendees including 50 attendees in STAR Class, 32 attended IMPT (Ice Making and Painting Technologies) and 18 PMP (Programming, Marketing and Promotions ). There were 34 vendor tables at the Trade Show on Wednesday evening with many of the vendors being on hand and contributing during the entire conference.

The 38th annual fall gathering featured a number of programs and activities each day for management, operations and vendors alike.   The conference kicked off early with STAR educational tracks starting on Tuesday. The general conference opened Wednesday starting with and social for colleagues and peers to say hello and network followed by awelcome dinner. Following dinner, the Annual Business Meeting with President Rick Ragan presiding (for one last time as his tenure as President ended at the conclusion of the conference) was held.

During the Business meeting we recognized the Board Members and welcomed in Craig Flor as our new President. With the New Board of Directors make up there is no longer Districts or District Representatives. The make- up of the Board is 4 Metro Members at-large positions, 3 Outstate member at-large positions along with a Past President, Secretary/Treasurer and a Vendor Representative. There are also four non-voting positions,(Website Editor, Newsletter Editor, MN Hockey Rep. and Director Emeritus). We welcomed newly appointed Board member Jon Balvance who replaces Brianna Ostoff who has resigned her position due to a career change where she is no longer in the industry. We acknowledged outgoing Board members Garry Hadden, and Bob Haala. Rick Ragan leaves as President but stays on for one year as Past President.

The 2013-14 Executive Board was announced with Craig Flor as President, Jordan Hirman as Vice-President and Dean Mulso returning as Secretary/Treasurer. The Board of Directors will hold their first meeting on October 2nd at Burnsville Ice Centerat 9:30am. At this meeting the Board assigns committee chairs and lays out the year ahead.

We acknowledge a number of members for years of service whether in attendance or not. The list includes recognition for service,starting with 10 years of service and continuing in 5 year increments. See the entirelist at end of this article.

Following the meeting, the Annual Trade Show was held which rounded off a great day. Following the Trade Show there was hospitality and plenty of sports talk, networking and sharing of stories before everyone turned in for the night.

On Thursday morning it was back to work as a number of breakout tracks were held at Ruttger’s. Our thanks to Dale Anderson for letting us use his wonderful facility for the STAR course all week. There were a record number of participant’s that worked on the ice during the IMPT educational track.

We thank our presenters for Thursday’s lectures including Ted Schick Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make - and How to Avoid Them group participation presiders including Craig Flor on Emergency Preparedness, Mark Bradley on Desiccant Dehumidification, Ricky Nelson from Century College on Internships and the Value they have, Jody Yungers for Recycling in Your Arena, Scott Ward for Ammonia Safety and Related Topics and Pam Muxfeldt for Concessions Stands, Vending machines and other Ancillary Income. Copies of each presentation will be posted on the website as they come in.

Later Thursday we dined and listened to John Gilbert, a long time hockey writer and author as our keynote speaker. John provided entertainment and gave a great perspective on many years of covering, watching and participating in hockey throughout the twin cities and Duluth. John’s success formula is really grass roots as he made many contacts including Herb Brooks during the 1980 Olympic season. The evening ended with a bonding session where participants showed off their skill in the bean bag toss tournament.

On Friday the conference wrapped up, but not without a day filled with break out sessions and final exams for the STAR groups. Our large group presenter was nationally acclaimed author Ross Bernstein who has written a number of books relating to sports and in particular hockey. Ross’s presentations were exciting and provided challenges for members to look at their operations and how to strive for perfection with each and everything we do including getting to know what motivates each person on your arena team. These very same ideas will help in working with key user groups, local governments, youth associations etc. Ross’s Champions Code was a two part program which left us laughing and marveling, while looking into great athletes and what motivates them. We thank Ross for coming to our conference and speaking with us.

Other breakout sessions on Friday included Mark Bradley leading a discussion on HVAC and Boiler Maintenance and Chuck Freiberg on the topic of design and architecture entitled, Is there an Architect on your Speed Dial. We would like to thank the presenters from Friday’s sessions and the great material we came away with.

Our stay at Ruttger’s wouldn’t have been possible with out the work of our Co-Chairs Dave Umlaff and Dean Mulso and the fine staff at Ruttger’s who followed through with all our requests!

We are in process of gathering feedback from the membership about the Fall Conference and presentation material. We will try to make as many presentation items available on our website as possible for those who couldn’t attend the sessions. Also check the photo tab for a recap of pictures taken at the conference.

Concept of the Year Awards


1st Place Bob Baltgavlis – Richfield Ice Arena – for his concept for fast and easy tie up of hockey goal nets. Bob’s concept uses 26’ of ¼’ rod stock about 50 ¼” clips and a number of self-tapping screws per net. To learn more about Bob’s concept we wil have it posted on the web site.

2nd Place Dean Mulso – Burnsville ice Center – for his cheap efficenct way to clean dasher boards by using Orange Oil Cleaner, Spray Bottle, Mr. Clean Mop and 3-4 Mr. Clean Magic Mop Heads, all in about 3-4 hrs with one person. Time will be less if there are two or more people working on the job.

Horror Story of the Year Award

Andy Baltgalvis- Bloomington Ice Gardens – for his problem trying to hold ice while getting a crankshaft fixed over a summer weekend while trying to keep ice. The fix was an $11,000 repair and of course had to be done over a weekend while watching the ice melt under summer conditions. All ended up ok when completed.

Service Awards

10 Year Service Awards                                                                                                    

David Holland                                   Graham Arena

Bill Owens                                          St. Thomas Ice Arena          


20 Year Service Awards                                                                                                    

Mary Pat Black                                 Brooklyn Park Community Center                   

Steve Lewis                                        Plymouth Ice Center                                                                                                                                                                                                         

25 Year Service Awards

George Malyuk                                 DECC

Rich Rakness                                     Retired

Bill Ruckle                                          Anoka Ice Arena

Clark Johnson                                   Anoka Ice Arena

Kevin Madsen                                   Willmar Civic Center

Rich Czech                                         Elk River Ice Arena


35 Year Service Awards

Mike Looker                                      Ralph Engelstad Arena

Outgoing Board Members

Bob Haala                                       New Ulm Civic Center

If aren’t sure you are on the list the office has with your years of service in a MIAMA facility or facilities send your name, arena and what year you started to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Posted by on in Announcements

Going to the MN Wild Social?

Don’t wait – get your payment in before the price goes up!


MIAMA Night at the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, November 3, 2013 vs. the New Jersey Devils at 7pm
Come see the Minnesota Wild with your fellow MIAMA members & MIAMA vendors. Families are also invited!
Seats are on the Upper Level Sides.


Download the flyer and submit your RSVP today before the prices go up!