Breslow ice arena to be used by UNL students
Photos and story by Julia Peterson, NewsNetNebraska
Zach Miller started playing hockey as a fifth grader. Today, the senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln continues to pursue the sport he loves by playing on the on the university club hockey team. But he said he and his teammates face a challenge more difficult than a tough opponent. Lincoln’s current ice arena, the Ice Box, does not offer enough time for them to play their games on home ice.
“The Stars get first priority,” he said.
The university club hockey holds their practices late at night, Miller said. Players are forced to play their games in Fremont.
The Breslow Ice Arena is an $11 million solution to the shortage of ice time.
Former state auditor John Breslow has offered $7 million to build the facility. The University of Nebraska Foundation has agreed to give $3 million to the project. Campus Recreation would shoulder the remaining $1 million, said UNL Chancellor Harvery Pearlman at meeting with the Board of Regents. Officials were supposed to vote on the ice arena at the Jan. 24 meeting. Instead it was tabled to allow more time for negotiations between the two parties.
As the deal stands now, the city would donate $40,000 for the first five years to help with operating costs. Once the five years is up, all fees will fall back on the university.
UNL Student Life
UNL student representative on the University Board of Regents Eric Reznicek said no fees would be added to student bills, and that many student activities would take place at the ice center.
“There’s really a significant number of students that could find use out of an ice rink,” he said.
Reznicek said broomball, is the university’s most popular intramural sport, would be played at the new arena.
Reznicek said the Breslow Ice Arena would give the university the ability to schedule social functions for students wanting time on the ice for recreational skating. He said it’s difficult for students to find time to skate for fun at the Ice Box. The packed schedule doesn’t allow it.
Hockey and Figure Skating
The new ice arena would be home to more than just university activities. Hockey and figure skating clubs currently using the Ice Box, are also struggling to find enough practice time.
“It’s hard to be a competitive skater in Lincoln,” said Deb Pearson, president of the Star City Figure Skating Club in Lincoln.
“That’s probably the hardest thing for our skaters, the time,” she said.
The club struggles to reserve ice time for its skaters because of cost. The high demand for ice time means the price for ice is high as well.
The club paid around $30,000 last year to reserve consistent ice times from September to April, Pearson said.
The high cost and limited amount of time sends skaters to surrounding rinks. During the summer especially, when the Ice Box is shut down, many competitive skaters drive to Omaha, she said.
Beginning skaters are forced to wait out the summer months to begin lessons in the fall.
“We have trouble keeping people dedicated,” said Pearson, “When you don’t skate for almost five months, sometimes it’s like starting over.”