The university hosted an opening event in celebration of the new ice skating rink at 7 p.m. Jan. 26. Junior Tyson Kalischuk, student senate treasurer, revealed the name of the rink – the “Frozen Forest” – and thanked the donors that gave money toward the project.
The rink was purchased and installed outside the Merillat Complex over the outdoor basketball court.
The Fort Wayne Komets, a minor league hockey team, are the lead sponsor of the rink. They were represented by team captain Kaleigh Schrock, lead scorer Mike Embach and their mascot Icy D. Eagle.
“It looks pretty cool,” Embach said. “It’s something they can redo every year. Obviously, it gives students something to do to get out … It’s a pretty easy, accessible thing.”
Schrock, a Fort Wayne native, said he was glad the Komets donated to the rink.
“I think it’s great because of all the support we get,” he said. “I think it’s important to give back as much as we can because we have the best support in the league and probably the most support …. in the country. It looks fun. It looks great.”
The university’s mascot, Norm the Forester, played broom ball with the Komets mascot before the Komets players joined them on the ice. Hot chocolate and cookies were served at the event.
Kalischuk gave a speech to begin the ceremony and thanked all the donors that contributed to the project. The idea was submitted to the senate Think Tank competition where Kalischuk won $700 toward the project. Since then, he has raised $6,850 to pay for the rink, $675 more than the projected cost, he said.
“Thanks to the university,” he said. “The amount of support and the amount of work this has taken this Jterm and back in December, it’s amazing.”
Kalishuck received donations from various student organizations on campus. Student Activities Board donated $1,000 and the Multicultural Activities Council donated $200. The Student Life office donated $1,200.
President Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D., also gave $1,000 to the project.
In addition, Kalischuk received funds from Beacon Credit Union, MacAllister Rentals and an anonymous donor.
“I didn’t think, financially, there was anyway we could have skates or sticks,” Kalischuk said in his opening remarks. “Once donors started helping us, that was possible. So thank you for that.”
The Komets have agreed to support the rink for the next five years, Kalischuk said.
Komet Kuarters store owner Bill Franke sold the university skates, sticks and pucks at a discount.
“We like the ice rink,” Franke said. “It’s too bad we got the snow yesterday otherwise the ice would be a lot nicer. It’s a start. We promote hockey throughout the entire area so we’re happy to be here.”
The rink was not skate-able for the event because of recent snowfall in the area. A portion of the rink was roped off for safety concerns.
“I know the conditions may not be great tonight but if we get some colder weather … it’d be great for the students to come out and enjoy it,” Schrock said.
Franke said the university is hoping to have students skate on Lake SnoTip.
“I was talking to a vice president of the university about one day talking to the insurance carriers so that when the lake freezer over they can play hockey there and skate,” he said. “That would be ideal. They said they’re going to look into it.”
Junior Bronwen Fetters, SAB student director, said she has “nothing but positive feelings about it.”
“I think it’s awesome that a Huntington student showed so much ambition and went out and raised the money and did this,” she said.
Senate vice president Sam Thompson, senior, said the ice rink makes the university unique.
“It’s a great opportunity to promote unity for the campus,” he said. “I think there should be more campus events. I think Tyson and everyone who’s been involved … deserve for there to be more events. That’s the great thing about it – it’s so accessible to all of campus that anybody can use it at anytime.”
Kalischuk said students can rent the equipment from the PLEX with their student ID cards.
“I’m just so happy and just grateful,” he said. “People can use it now and students can enjoy it. It’s all for the students.”
He said the extra money will go toward future expenses of the rink.
“In the future, we hope to raise even more just to keep that buffer,” he said. “Sticks will break, sometimes pucks, if we lose pucks. Possibly, in three years we’ll have to get a new liner which will be around an $800 expense. They wear out, and that’s expected. The boards and everything should be fine.”
Kalishuck said students should be able to skate on the rink soon.
“That’s all on weather,” he said. “If it stays cold another couple days, I’m hoping soon.”