Beat the heat at ice arena


Walk through the doors of Howelsen Ice Arena and you will be greeted by a blast of chilly air.
Manager Stacy Foster hopes that will draw Steamboat Springs residents and visitors to the arena in July to enjoy skating on the facility's icy surface.
"It's a great place to escape the heat, and I think that's why people are going to come to the ice arena this summer."
It will be the first time the rink has maintained full operations in July. Last summer, the Steamboat Springs Figure Skating School guaranteed the rink money so that it would open its doors.
The club wanted to keep the arena open so its members wouldn't have to drive to places such as Denver and Vail in the summer to train. It's not uncommon for figure skaters to make three-hour trips to find ice in the summer.
This year, the facility will offer adult hockey leagues, drop-in hockey sessions and public skating. Foster hopes the public will respond by showing up for the programs in force.
"It's a huge test that will help us decide when the rink should be open or when it should be closed," Foster said.
Foster said a strong showing in July will persuade the city of Steamboat to keep the rink open for all but eight weeks each year.
She thinks that's the closest it will ever come to being a year-round facility.
The rink will open its doors July 1 for a development hockey program for women and girls.
Women's hockey will take the ice July 2, with the first drop-in hockey session of the summer.
The first public skates of the summer will take place from 3:30 until 6 p.m. July 3. Public skates will be offered all month from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Public skates will be offered from 3:30 until 6 p.m. Saturdays.
Hockey league coordinator Darren Malia said the rink will be offering plenty of hockey opportunities this summer.
The ice arena will host three four-team leagues that play once a week. The "C" league will play Tuesday nights beginning July 6. The "A" league is slated to play Wednesday nights and the "B' league will take the ice Thursday nights. Games will be played at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. each night, and the deadline to register is June 25. Cost to play is $110 for eight games or about $14 a game.
Malia said the summer league is new and that fall and winter adult leagues will be offered this year.
Children between the ages of 8 and 15 can take advantage of a new program that stresses the recreational aspects of hockey. Pond Hockey will take place from 5:30 until 6:45 p.m. Mondays in July. Foster said participants can show up for a drop-in format.
Foster said she knows that summer is a busy time for many Steamboat residents but that the arena is open this summer because so many people have requested it.
She is hoping those people will show up to support it this July.


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