More than a year ago, construction began on the new West Fargo Sports Arena. Now, teams are finally getting their skates on the ice. The doors are open and the ice is ready for some shredding. “As a whole, I think it’s a beautiful place and it’s going to be a nice place to watch hockey,” said Girls Head Hockey Coach, Pat Johnson. Players are finally getting a chance to try out the new ice at the West Fargo Sports Arena, but the excitement isn’t just for the athletes. “We want people to get in and enjoy this place,” said Brady Vander Velde, who is the arena’s manager. “We want to present a really great atmosphere with the youth programs and the high schools.”
Vander Velde says when it came to building the arena, they kept a “top notch” mentality.
“Quality was number one,” Vander Velde said. “I want people to show up and try the ice for the first time and say, ‘Wow! There’s actually time and maintenance put into really taking care of that space down there.'” He says the equipment is top of the line and the ability to run ice year–round is key. “Right now we’re very hockey specific,” Vander Velde said.
The new building is equipped with two sheets of ice, one with seating up to 1,000 people and one for about 450, which will create more space for teams. “The youth it’s going to help because now, they won’t have to have so many early mornings or late nights,” Johnson said.
A more manageable practice time isn’t the only thing on the coaches’ minds. Local coaches say this new arena is finally giving them a chance to have a place to call home. “We haven’t had a locker room or an office or any of that,” Johnson said. “Now, we have all that. Hopefully, it’ll feel like home.”
Right now, the space is catered to games, practices and tournaments, but staff say they hope to expand eventually. “We want to open it up to everybody and have it be a very enjoyable space for everybody to come out and enjoy,” said Vander Velde. And now that local teams have a place to call home, that means a little re–decorating is in order. “We have two banners that we’ve won two state titles for and we finally get to put them up,” said Johnson. High school teams from around the area have their first practice on the new ice today.