The Plymouth Ice Center is one of the busiest ice arenas in the state and after a few recent upgrades, it’s ready to host one of the largest youth hockey tournaments in the country this month. The USA Hockey National High School Tournament, a five-day event, will showcase the skills of hockey teams from high schools across the U.S. For both local sports enthusiasts and the city of Plymouth as a whole, the tournament promises to be an exciting experience.
The event will be held March 22-26 at the Plymouth Ice Center. Thirty-two boys teams and eight girls teams travel to compete for the title of national champion in their respective divisions throughout the five days. “It will be an extremely competitive hockey tournament with a high skill level and an enormous amount of games. There will be games on all three rinks from 8 o’clock in the morning until probably 10 o’clock at night,” says Greg Gibson, president of the Wayzata Youth Hockey Association. “There will be a big influx of people playing hockey into our community, which is really exciting."
The tournament is good news for the city of Plymouth as well. Players, families and fans will need lodging, food, transportation, equipment and entertainment throughout the five-day-long event. As tournament goers experience all that Plymouth has to offer, the city will enjoy a significant economic boost throughout the five days.
“Hopefully, businesses will see participants and fans venture into their stores, restaurants and hotels,” says Erik Halverson, ice arena manager at Plymouth Ice Center. “Having this opportunity will hopefully open more doors to host other types of tournaments from USA Hockey and other types of events for the city of Plymouth.”
The Plymouth Ice Center is noteworthy in and of itself, too. Owned and operated by the city, it is the first public-private collaboration of its kind and is home to a wide range of ice sports. After a series of upgrades last May, the arena is expected to see an increase in rental demand and it's now possible for more organizations to utilize and enjoy the space.
“The renovation of Rink A included converting the floor from sand to concrete, a new refrigeration system, shrinking the ice size from ‘Olympic’ to ‘Professional’ size and the installing of new dasher boards and glass,” Halverson says. “The benefits of the renovation [are that] it allows us to be more efficient with our ice systems and energy usage. Our dasher boards were close to 20 years old and were in need of replacement, and the boards they make today are much safer than they were 20 years ago.”
With these much-needed upgrades in place, the Plymouth Ice Center is more energy efficient, cost-effective and accessible. It can stay competitive and revenue-generating throughout the years to come, proving to be a great investment for hockey fans and Plymouth residents alike.
2018 USA Hockey National High School Tournament
Plymouth Ice Center