Duluth Heights Hockey Rink Opens, Community Center Still Closed

Hockey Association has quotes on roof repair.

DULUTH, Minn.- The sound of metal skates on ice mean it’s that time of year: hockey season is back again. And the Duluth Heights Community Center is the first to open their outdoor rink this season.

“The kids spend 4–6 days here every week in the winter I would say,” said Duluth Heights Hockey Association President Kim Oppelt. “So it’s a place where they’ve been able to make friends and meet their neighbors.”

“Not only are they a hockey team but they’re friends off the rink as well.”

The kids are looking forward to this season, and this rink, too.

“Cause it has two rinks: the small rink and the big rink,” young Dominic Assad said. “They also have a soccer field which is behind the Duluth Heights building and sometimes they do like, sometimes they flood that part of the rink.”

But all the rinks at the community center could be in jeopardy, with the future of the community center up in the air.

“If there’s a remodel that can happen quickly and efficiently, if they’re gonna tear it down we need to know that too so that we can keep things operating here,” said Oppelt.

The city closed the center back in March, citing that it could cost up to $300,000 to repair the roof.

But the Duluth Heights Hockey Association, who still uses the building’s lower half, says they’ve gotten quotes to fix the roof, and hopefully open the center back up.

“The big thing the city’s gotta do is keep an open mind, work with us as we’re getting these quotes,” Rink Director Zak Radzak said,

Community centers, he said, are key parts of the community and deserve more attention.

“Let’s look at the numbers, let’s look at the facts because there’s a lot of kids, there’s a lot of families, a lot of old people, a lot of young people, everything that uses this place,” he said.

“So this is what we need for our community. This is what we need, not stuff for tourism.”

On Saturday November 23, the Hockey Association will have a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser at the All American Club, to keep the cost of playing hockey down for families.

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