New Sun Prairie hockey arena opens this weekend

$7 Million dollar project opens doors Friday

Published On: Jan 16 2014 08:54:53 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 16 2014 09:36:52 PM CST
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. -

Eight years ago, some hockey folks in Sun Prairie decided it was time to start working toward funding and building a new facility to replace the aging Sun Prairie Ice Arena. 

This weekend, the dream finally comes true. The new Sun Prairie Ice Arena is located right next to the new high school and organizers feel its something really special.

"For those of us who have lived and breathed this for the last couple of years it's really a chance to put closure on it," said Jeff Thornton, president of the Board of Directors for Sun Prairie Ice Arena.

The ending of the construction project is just the beginning for the new era of Sun Prairie hockey.

"It's kind of neat to see it go from design stage to pre-construction to fundraising to finally getting it open and letting everyone come in and understand what we were hoping to do and why," said Thornton.

The new, spacious $7 million project exceeds expectations. It's 94,000 square feet, has two NHL-sized rinks, 14 locker rooms, concessions stands and even a dance studio.

The Cardinal rink seats about 1,200, not including standing room, while the Tubbs rink seats 600-800.

"This facility can be used for our youth hockey program are varsity programs. It will  be used for figure-staking," said Jennifer Kurtz, Sun Prairie Youth hockey president.

They broke ground in May 2013 and the old ice rink on the other side of town was torn down, and eight months later the finished product is ready to go.

"Our old location was completely full, morning to night, and this one is 94,000 square feet and there's not much room in this facility that is not being utilized," said Kurtz.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is Friday, then the youth teams will take to the ice. The first boys varsity home game is Jan. 28 after being nomadic all season.

"They have been on the road the past few months. They practice before 5 a.m., kind of all around the city. I want to give a shout-out to our neighbors Mcfarland, Waunakee and Madison arenas for kind of housing us for a while," said Thornton.

The wait is almost over, the Cardinals have a place to call home.

"It's a chance to have them come home and stake this place as their own and kinda make it an intimidating place. I'm really looking forward to seeing it," said Thornton.

If you want to see the new facility this weekend, the ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Friday at 9:30a.m., then Saturday the big grand opening event from 5-10 p.m. It's free and open to the public with an open skating on both rinks, tours, door prizes, a silent auction and face painting.