GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
The Glacier Ice Arena project started back in 2006 and cost $4.25 million. In 2010 the ice rink was forced to close for a few years due to defective equipment installed by a subcontractor. 2018 was the ice arena’s busiest year, but now two years later on 2020, the ice rink owners have faced COVID-19, and a brand new deal to buy it for a cool $2.4 million.
Hockey, like most sports, teaches focus, discipline, and respect, and those lessons are taught by a high school math teacher. Walter Fox, Director for the Grand Junction Hockey Club says, “Went from assistant to a head coach my second year, and my third year they asked me to run the whole program.”
The Glacier Ice Arena has been the only ice skating spot within 90 miles where Walter’s played hockey for 10 years, and he even still has all of his teeth. “Haha! I wear full cage. So, the youth program too. They have to wear full cage. We don’t get paid enough to go have a dentist replace our teeth all the time,” says Fox.
The Glacier Ice Arena has been the coolest place in town the last 14 years until COVID closed its doors on March 18th, and now the rink’s for sale potentially keeping the doors closed forever, and although happy memories remain, some dreams may be lost. Walter says, “Yes, the rink is under contract to a new owner who doesn’t want to keep it a rink, but they’re willing to lease it, to my understanding another 5 years to keep it a rink.”
Hope for another half a decade of more ice skating with family, friends, and even Santa may be a possibility, but there’s also a contingency, and it’s an hour and a half commute. “Our plan B is talking to other organizations like Glenwood, Gunnison. We can rent ice, keep our organization together, maybe go down there on the weekends. Kids could still be coyotes,” says Fox.
There’s even a plan C put in place because all Walter says he truly cares about is providing kids a hockey outlet to develop their minds because coaching and teaching is about teaching kids that learn differently, and Walter’s both a teacher and a coach. Walter says, “The other solution is start a roller hockey league.”