How fundraising transformed an empty space into SCSU hockey’s new weight room

SCSU Hockey Training Center

Once an eyesore, the empty space behind the men’s and women’s hockey locker rooms at St. Cloud State University has been transformed into a state-of-the-art workout facility.

Thanks to fundraising efforts that were needed to complete the $600,000 project, the previously sparsely-filled concrete room that housed postgame interviews and an equipment room is now ready to be used by the Husky hockey teams.

“It’s exciting for the program … and we’re ready to go to work,” junior forward Megan Roe said. “It shows how much support SCSU has, because a lot went into it.”

The weight room was originally in the plans back in 2013 as part of the $18 million renovation of Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, but there wasn’t enough money to complete the project. After being put on hold for six years, an extra push from coach Brett Larson after taking the men’s job last season helped reach the desired amount.

Corey Portner, associate director of the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, said the construction project went as planned over the summer. The project began in April and was completed in early August. Larson, athletic director Heather Weems, women’s coach Steve Macdonald and JLG Architects all had a hand in putting together the theme that was true to SCSU hockey.

“It was a collaborative effort,” Portner said. “We wanted an industrial feel … with red color palettes and grey. The red really pops.”

The extra effort to put together a top-notch facility isn’t lost on the athletes who will make it their own.

“The detail doesn’t go unnoticed,” junior forward Will Hammer said. “It’s a jump from the last space, and we’re ready to use it as our advantage.”

Hockey players were able to work out in the space for the first time at the end of last week, with others arriving for the start of school this week eager to see for themselves the transformation their teammates had been sharing in photos and videos.

“Not everybody’s back yet, but I think the weight room will be the first stop,” junior goalie Emma Polusny said. “I’m happy it could be done while I’m still here … it’s absolutely beautiful.”

The red indoor turf is especially impressive, with squat racks, free weights, bicycles, ellipticals and other training equipment ready to be put to work.

Polusny has had fun joking with teammate Hallie Theodosopoulos that she gets to stare at her every day now that her face is one of many adorning the wall of murals.

“I was almost afraid to sweat in there and ruin anything,” Polusny joked. “It will be exciting to get the whole team in there.”

The amount of support in fundraising such a large amount of money meant a lot to the players in the weight room last Friday. Hammer said there’s a feeling of gratitude within the team, and Polusny added that it makes SCSU feel even more like home.

“It shows how much the community cares about SCSU hockey,” Polusny said. “They’re behind you, and they’re trying to see you improve in any way possible.”