ST. PAUL, MINN. – The small communities of Hallock and East Grand Forks will be receiving grant money to upgrade their ice rink facilities. The money comes from the Mighty Ducks Grants and are administered by the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. According to the Commission there are two issues driving the upgrades happening across the state, including air quality issues associated with zambonis, and the use of Freon, or R-22 – an ingredient used to make ice that will no longer be imported by the U.S. Government beginning in the year 2020.
“Hockey and other ice sports are a way of life in Northern Minnesota, but these costly and necessary upgrades would be out of reach for small towns and school districts like Hallock if this grant money wasn’t available. The city will receive $200,000 in Mighty Ducks grant money and we are all so grateful,” said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Plummer).
According to the Commission, in addition to Hallock’s $200,000 grant the City of East Grand Forks was awarded $150,000 for ice rink upgrades. About half of the state’s 240 ice arenas are affected by the ban of R-22, and many are considering the costly upgrades which can push $2 million in some areas. The upgrades mean a complete overhaul to a more environmentally friendly system that uses ammonia or other chemicals as the refrigerant.
In the 2014 Bonding Bill the state legislature provided $1.5 million to the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission for the Mighty Ducks Grant program. The Commission appropriated this money to 11 different ice facilities across the state. Sen. Stumpf is chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee which puts together the Bonding Bill.